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   Undertoad  Wednesday Mar 13 05:02 PM

3/13: National Geographic woman found

I saw an interview with the photographer who shot the original National Geographic shot: the haunted look of an Afghani 15-year-old.

That photographer was in high demand for interviews at the beginning of the Afghan situation. In the interview, he talked about how haunting the shot was, and then, about how he tried to find the woman again, but never could. And he was worried about her. Even though he never really met her, she was the subject of his shot, an infamous photo.

And now, she has been found. Apparently her story will be in the April Nat Geo.

dave  Wednesday Mar 13 05:05 PM

As well as a show this <b>Friday at 9PM EST on MSNBC TV</b>.

I have been staring at that goddamn picture since yesterday when it was posted. I've seen the picture a hundred times, and it's still captivating.

Undertoad  Wednesday Mar 13 05:07 PM

More details! Here are select paragraphs from the wire story on it:

But the woman's identity has only just been uncovered after the National Geographic photographer who first saw her in a refugee camp in Pakistan 18 years ago, finally tracked down the woman in a remote village south of Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

"Every time I went there (to Afghanistan or Pakistan), I asked about her, but I never had any leads," freelance photographer Steve McCurry, who took the picture for National Geographic in 1984, told Reuters.

This January, he returned with a National Geographic team to the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan where he took the picture and found someone who said he grew up with the woman's brother.

"The refugee camp was set to close and so I knew this was my only chance to find her," said McCurry. "I couldn't believe it when the brother finally turned up with his sister. I knew immediately it was her."

The woman, who is now about 30 years old, was identified as Sharbat Gula. She remembered McCurry taking the picture but had never seen a copy of it and was surprised and embarrassed by all the attention it attracted.

Gula got married shortly after McCurry first saw her and had four daughters, one of whom died in infancy. She was repatriated from the camp in 1992 and returned to Afghanistan with her family.

Her life had been tough in Afghanistan and McCurry said she had struggled to survive.

"What the second picture shows is that she is still alive and survived quite well in fact ... but that pain and hardship is still written in her face. It is not a face of joy," he added.

dave  Wednesday Mar 13 05:15 PM

More info. I'm stupid and should have posted this originally.

"I don’t think a day has gone by in the last 17 years that I haven’t received a letter, request or phone call asking, ‘Where is she,'" says McCurry, the photographer who took the picture in a Pakastani refugee camp in 1984.

He's been looking for her for years, but had no luck. He was told that she either disappeared into the camps or had died. In January of this year, he decided to give it one last shot at the refugee camp where he had taken the picture. He walked around, holding a picture of the magazine (this picture was on the cover of a 1985 National Geographic), asking people if they knew the woman. He was surprised when a man said "I know her! I grew up next to her!"

The man then went and got the woman's brother, who went to Afghanistan to return with his sister. McCurry thought "We'll never see him again." - but, sure enough, he came back with his sister.

To ensure that it was her, National Geographic had some experts do scans of the irises and compare them. The tests came back 99.9% certain that they were the same person.

She says she remembers it vividly because it was the only time in her entire life that she'd had her picture taken.

She now lives in a village in Afghanistan with her children and husband. Of course, she's got that god-awful burqa.

You can read more here.

hairdog  Wednesday Mar 13 05:22 PM

I always thought she was quite a babe, but now, I'm glad I didn't give her my phone number.

blase  Wednesday Mar 13 11:54 PM

I remember looking at that picture in the issue in which it originally came out, maybe it's the small size of the shot here but the eyes don't have the same haunting depth of color that I remember.

Chewbaccus  Thursday Mar 14 12:08 PM

Originally posted by hairdog
I always thought she was quite a babe, but now, I'm glad I didn't give her my phone number.
Well, to be fair, living through the effects of war with two global superpowers in their heyday and severe government oppression will do that to a gal...

warch  Thursday Mar 14 01:45 PM

The April NG cover is an even more powerful and haunting image. I know you fellas are just joking about her date appeal, but the misogyny is a bit ironic and annoying.

dave  Thursday Mar 14 02:16 PM

I didn't anything, but I was pretty disappointed about people cracking jokes about her. Walk a mile (or eighteen years, whichever is longer) in her shoes first.

sapienza  Thursday Mar 14 03:38 PM

Something I've thought about is her age in the first picture. She's just 12 or 13 there, I believe, and yet ever since I had first seen the image, I thought she was upper teens to twenties. She had already had a hard life. Go look at a typical 12/13 year old girl here in the states and see how likely you are to confuse HER with a 20-year old. Life was hard on her before, and life had just continued to be.

I think we could probably use this snippet of code:
her_outward_age = (her_actual_age / 2) + her_actual_age

'Course, if you always looked at the picture and saw a 12-year old, then my statements don't really regard to you ... so go away and quit proving me wrong.


jeni  Thursday Mar 14 09:20 PM

yeah, i read in the santa cruz sentinel that she was only 13 in the first pic. we have that article clipped and magnet-ed up on the fridge. heh.

Nic Name  Friday Mar 15 02:42 AM

The faces of liberated Afghan women.

Women wearing the traditional Burqa and children wait to collect wheat from the World Food Program in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Thursday, March 14, 2002. The outfit covers up there whole body so they cannot be seen by men. (AP Photo/Adam Butler)

Griff  Friday Mar 15 08:24 AM

Warchs comments got me thinking about the images we all see every day. Depending on what we bring to these photos, we can recognize the spark of God, our own humanity reflected, or whatever it is we recognize in others that causes us to respect them as fellow beings not objects. We are bombarded by titilating images everyday, many of them designed to sell themselves, an idea, or an object with little thought to the human being in the image. This is something I've struggled with. How can I respect someones basic humanity if that is not part of what they're selling. Anyway, I really like the Cellars image forum, we can come here to view and comment on a few striking photos that that have effected others and maybe reinforce our humanity. Griff now shifting from condition red (for preachin') to green (for partyin') cuz St Paddys day is upon us.

warch  Friday Mar 15 11:41 AM

Its just wierd. She is strikingly beautiful, but thats what must be hidden, its power is thought to be evil.

For me, I think its the Burqua and the beliefs associated with it. I live in a Minneapolis neighborhood with many recent immigrants. Many women chose to wear scarves and robes and I barely notice,(unless its a really beautiful fabric!) A few weeks ago I was at a bus stop with a woman in a full black burqa. She stood away from the rest of the riders, struggled to find her transfer in her purse, as she couldnt see well and slowly climbed the steps into the bus. As we rode, I tried to figure out what I was feeling- I was just freaked and scared by this totally black-robed, masked person. Was it evil axis, darth vader propaganda reaction fear? Was it her physical separation from the rest of us? Does she have to wear that here? Do men make her? If she chooses to, I should respect that...but does she think the rest of us are whores? Do I feel sorry for her? Does she feel safer? Is it that I just cant see her face?
It was just weird.

Undertoad  Friday Mar 15 12:11 PM

As an anti-social introvert, I would very much like to wear one. I can only imagine how comforting it is. Once it is on, I can't imagine wanting to take it off. I'm sure it's like a security blanket and an escape from the real world.

Griff  Friday Mar 15 12:15 PM

Its just so....foreign. I think our openess is part of what makes us feel safe in the States and with these folks it seems to be the opposite. I've got daughters and it is just so offensive to my sense of fairness that sex be the criteria which determines what you get to be or do... I've long been an advocate of open borders and believe our culture can absorb any group but this is so... dare I say un-American? Its very disturbing since the WASP crowd thought the same thing about my ancestors.

dave  Friday Mar 15 12:16 PM

We live in an area that has a very large Arab immigrant population. One time a woman came into Jenni's store wearing a scarf over her face. Jenni apparently had a hard time understanding her or something, 'cause the woman pulled the scarf away from her face and said something to the effect of "my husband would kill me if he knew I took this off, but I hate it so much."

I hope she was only joking about that first part there.

Undertoad  Friday Mar 15 01:27 PM

Turns out there is a lot more information and a few more images:

commodore64  Friday Mar 15 03:47 PM

Missing Girl

There is a national geographic special about finding this girl. It's on MSNBC. Not sure what time.

dave  Friday Mar 15 03:49 PM

Originally posted by dhamsaic on 03-13-2002 at 05:05 PM
As well as a show this <b>Friday at 9PM EST on MSNBC TV</b>.

I have been staring at that goddamn picture since yesterday when it was posted. I've seen the picture a hundred times, and it's still captivating.
Maybe that'll clarify

warch  Friday Mar 15 05:28 PM

Its just so....foreign.
Its so threatening. You hear about ongoing female infanticide and abuses of what I embrace as basic human rights - beatings, murder, slavery, mutilation all justified by the richness of religion, male dominated culture and tradition. Back to the good old days. Its more than foreign, its criminal. Unjust and cruel, thats what I find really hard to tolerate. She could be me, I could be her.

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