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Painting - Watercolor On Canvas
the famous National Geographic cover. I always thought it was the most striking image
Afghan Girl is an award-winning photograph by journalist Steve McCurry. The photograph has been likened to Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Mona Lisa and has been called "the First World's Third World Mona Lisa".
The subject of the photograph was called "the Afghan Girl" by the public until she was formally identified in early 2002 as Sharbat Gula (Pashto: شربت ګله) (pronounced [ˈʃaɾbat]) (born ca. 1972), an Afghan woman who was living as a refugee in Pakistan during the time of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan when she was photographed. The image brought her recognition when it was featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine at a time when she was approximately 12 years old.
The identity of the Afghan Girl remained unknown for over 17 years; Afghanistan remained largely closed to Western media until after the removal of the Taliban government by American troops and local allies in 2001. Although McCurry made several attempts during the 1990s to locate her, he was unsuccessful.
In January 2002, a National Geographic team traveled to Afghanistan to locate the subject of the photograph that had remained in the public mind for so long. McCurry, upon learning that the Nasir Bagh refugee camp was soon to close, inquired of its remaining residents, one of whom knew Gula's brother and was able to send word to her hometown. However, there were a number of women who came forward and identified themselves erroneously as the famous Afghan Girl. In addition, after being shown the 1984 photo, a handful of young men erroneously identified Gula as their wife.
The team finally located Gula, then around the age of 30, in a remote region of Afghanistan; she had returned to her native country from the refugee camp in 1992. Her identity was confirmed by John Daugman using iris recognition. She vividly recalled being photographed. She had been photographed on only three occasions: in 1984 and during the search for her when a National Geographic producer took the identifying pictures that led to the reunion with Steve McCurry. She had never seen her famous portrait before it was shown to her in January 2002.
December 2nd, 2012
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