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Time and Hardship

Time and Hardship
Photograph by Steve McCurry

Sharbat Gula does not know her exact age, but she is likely 28, 29, or 30. In the mid-1990s, during a lull in the fighting that has rocked Afghanistan for most of her life, she returned to her village. Hers has been a hand-to-mouth existence. She had not been photographed since Steve McCurry made her portrait in 1984, and she only agreed to be photographed again—to appear unveiled, without her burka—because her husband told her it would be proper. She is a private woman, uncomfortable with the attention of strangers. A devout Muslim, she attributes her survival to the “will of God.”



Camera: Nikon F100
Film Type: Ektachrome
Lens: 65mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/60 @ f/2.8
Weather Conditions: Overcast
Time of Day: Mid-morning
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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