THURSDAY

Where is that woman we will never forget—Afghan Refugee Girl, 1985—whom photographer Steve McCurry captured in a Pakistani camp for National Geographic? By now, you know the picture without even seeing it: her beautiful face with abalone eyes charged by a green background, spooked, presumably, by the tribal wars that broke out in Afghanistan when the Soviets retreated. McCurry had made 18 trips to Afghanistan by the time he took that photo, having first smuggled himself over the border just before the 1979 Soviet invasion. Before that, he had tripped all over India, and before that, he was shooting Kiwanis meetings for a Philadelphia newspaper. McCurry’s subjects throughout subcontinental Asia seem to exist in a dimension apart from their surroundings, at a beatific remove from the rest of us. And yet, he concludes, they are the rest of us—all the thousands of pilgrims he framed, Where’s Waldo?-style, in Kerala, India, seem to smooth into a single being, yet the beggar woman with her baby outside his car window in Bombay (pictured) leads us to untold multitudes. In India, McCurry observes in his big new picture book, Steve McCurry South Southeast, people live their entire lives, “even bodily functions,” in public view. “In the secular West,” he writes, “where nothing is sacred, everything seems hidden; yet in Asia, where nothing is hidden, everything is sacred.” McCurry discusses his book and his travels at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, at Borders, 5871 Crossroads Center Way, Baileys Crossroads. Free. (703) 998-0404. (Bradford McKee)

More from WCP