Worlds greatest Headshots or Portrait Image

July 26, 2010

Steve MCCURRY - Afghan Girl

My admirations goes out to Steve McCurry’s capture of the Aghan Girl.
Greatest Portrait Image of all time


The cover of National Geographic Magazine in June of 1985, is in my subjective but educated opinion the worlds greatest Headshot is a Portrait captured by Steve McCurry.

Gula’s village was attacked by a Soviet Union Helicopter that bombed her Village in Afghanistan and killed both of her parents, forcing her and her Grandmother to evacuate to Pakistan.

Steve McCurry was rarely given an opportunity to photograph. Picked up his Nikon FM2 camera, loaded with Kodachrome slide film and Nikkor 105 mm F2.5 lens and snapped two images of “The Afghan Girl”, while visiting the Nasir Bagh regugee camp in Pakistan.

What makes this image the World’s greatest portrait?

a) World most recognized photo portrait
Often while I ask my students if they know the world’s greatest portrait. Some try to be witty, with a unique answer, but most don’t know the answer to my highly subjective question. Most believe that they would never recognize a photo portrait. When ever I explain to them that its the image of a 12 yrs old refugee girl, the cover of the National Geographic Magazine. They all know the image.

There isn’t another portrait, besides the Mona Lisa which isn’t a Headhsot that will regnized.

b) Emotion
Look at her eyes. What do you see, look again? Do you see beautiful little girls green eyes? Or do you see rage, anger and a internalized sense of unfairness. Her look tells us a story that is understood on an emotional level, you can’t dismiss it.

c) Flawless and Beautiful
Perfect exposure, beautiful work of complementary colors. Her green eyes are complemented by her vest and olive skin.

d) Story
A photographer with great abilities was at the right place, at the right time. This image launched a career, sold more National Geographic magazines.

If you don’t agree with me show me a better portrait to be displayed in my blog for consideration.

Carlos Taylhardat