I don't know if anybody else has seen it, but last night I watched (on the National Geographic channel) the documentary about photographer Steve McCurry searching for the Afghan girl (hence the title) from his famous picture taken in 1984.
A quite moving documentary as hopes are dashed when one lead turns out to be false. The interesting part comes when McCurry took pictures of her iris to be sent for identification back in America. Impressively it seemed no-one falied to offer their help in finding the girl, from the editor of National Geographic to the forensic specialists of the FBI.
But ultimately it shows McCurry unable to resist taking pictures through this journey, along with it a glimpse of a how a master works.
I saw this piece some time ago and had a very different reaction. Maybe I'm wrong, but I found it to be rather disturbing that McCurry's personal "hunt" for this woman seemed only important up until the point when he had other things to do, or places to go. It came off to me as more of a promo for NG and another chance to utilize this womans image. I have often wondered (considering what this photograph had done for McCurrys career and the years of promotion that NG got from using it in everything form membership mailings to calendars) how this woman and her family benefited?
I've always thought the Afghan girl:
and Mapplethorpe's portrait of Grace Jones (the print I've seen is much more intense than this online version):
had a curious affinity.