Cost of Profitable Model for photographers

July 3, 2014

Gixel Bundchen a supermodel earned $42 million, Adriana Lima $7.3 million, Kate Moss $5.7 million a year. How much would you expect the living model of the most profitable and famous portrait photograph of all times be paid?

National Geography Magazine sold in 40 languages, winner of numerous awards and an average of 8.3 million circulations per month, had a cover picture of Sharbat Gula in June of 1985. Arguably the most famous portrait photograph of all times and one of the most remember photographs.Sharbat-Gula

Afghan Girl, as the portrait was initially called, was photographed by Steve McCurry launching him a celebrity career for capturing the image. Sharbat Gula was a refugee of Soviet Occupied Afghanistan in 1984 living in a Palestinian camp. It’s the perfect portrait in every aspect, her youth the color contrast of her eyes against the clothing and the green background and more important the intangible expression that pierces through our souls.

In 2002 a special documentary was made about the portrait, she was eventually found living in Pakistan, Sharbat Gula accepted more portraits and continued to live in one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Returned to her secluded world not aware that her portrait had been used time after time as the cover of National Geographic magazine e.g 125th Anniversary, Best of National Geographic Magazine, the 2002 cover of National Geographic showing both portrait – before and after and the video.

I wonder how much money did National Geographic magazine compounded over the last 30 yrs and how much compensation did Sharbat Gula receive? A refugee, an orphan who lost her parents and walked with her grandmother, brother and three sister across the mount to end up in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan in 1984. When asked how she had survived the Soviet Invasion, The Taliban, The US and The Taliban, again… “the will of God”, Steve McCury and Sharbat Gula keep in touch monthly according to Wikipedia.