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  Field Notes From
Special Report


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Steve McCurry

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From Photogapher

Steve McCurry


Lawrence Cumbo

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From Producer

Lawrence Cumbo


Carrie Regan

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From Associate Producer

Carrie Regan


In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Carrie Regan


 

Carrie Regan On Assignment On Assignment
Special Report

Field Notes From Associate Producer
Carrie Regan
Best Worst Quirkiest
After one of photographer Steve McCurry’s photo shoots of Sharbat Gula, we all prepared to leave the Peshawar home of Rahimullah Yusufzai, a prominent Pakistani journalist. Sharbat, her husband, and brother climbed into Rahimullah’s truck. I said good-bye to the men, but, because Sharbat was sitting by the far door, I couldn’t reach her hand to say good-night. I walked around to the other side of the truck, but she couldn’t figure out how to roll down the window. So I pressed my palm against the window in a gesture of farewell. On the other side of the glass she placed her hand against mine just before they drove off. It was a very touching moment.

I was so excited when an ophthalmologist confirmed that Sharbat Gula was indeed the girl in the photograph. All of the executive staff involved at our Washington, D.C., headquarters were thrilled that we had found her. The next step, then, was for members of our team to take our recent photos—as well as Steve’s original one—for confirmation to Iridian Technologies, a New Jersey company that is a leader in iris-identification technology. All of my joy slipped away the next morning when my phone woke me up. Nancy Donnelly, an associate producer for EXPLORER, was on the other end. “Carrie, we’re here at Iridian,” she said. “They say that the eyes don’t match.” I was devastated! Sliding down to that low after experiencing such a high point was horrendous. It seemed—at the time, at least—that my biggest fear had come true: We would leave Pakistan without proof to present in Washington that this was really the girl in the picture. But when Steve’s photos came in—with better quality than our snapshots, Iridian confirmed a match.

Many Afghan women have reservations about being photographed, so I borrowed photos of producer Lawrence Cumbo’s wife and daughter to show Sharbat. “In the United States,” I told her, “we carry photos of people we love so that we can think about them when we travel.” I also showed her my driver’s license. She asked if she could keep it because she wanted a photo of me. I promised her I would have a photo taken to give to her. On the last evening I ran all over Peshawar looking for a place where I could get a Polaroid or passport photo taken. I had pretty much given up when I came upon a dusty camera shop. It had long, narrow, plastic windows, and it looked like it sold outmoded equipment. The Pakistani man behind the desk didn’t speak much English, but I asked, “Passport photo? Polaroid?”
“No Polaroid!” he declared. “Digital!” He pulled this cloth off a box sitting off to the side to reveal a computer and laser printer. He took my picture and printed it right there for me.



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