Sidewalk Stories

I don’t know how long I’ve followed Steve McCurry’s work, and maybe this is a “Hey, it’s Sunday, Day 20 of March and the #SOL22 Challenge, and I’m not sure what to write,” but such a treasure is worth sharing.

Steve’s photographs have inspired my students in so many ways. One year we used his work as a mentor text for a photo essay and played with the idea: Quotes first or photos? How does that affect the creator? It led to Steve’s use of various themes, and the quotes he chose to represent those themes. All great writing talk and idea generation.

Of course I’ve used single photos with them, and for me, too, to get us/me going on those I-don’t-know-what-to-write-about days. They have engaged in different ways, lost in images, in different possibilities, is perspective explorations that made me see in new ways. Yesterday when I saw this collection based on the brilliant, simple theme of sidewalks, I knew I had to share. (How many times have you thought about sidewalks and the role they play in our lives?)

I recall that last year, at some point after I’d had a successful session writing with my students from his art, I wrote a comment thanking him. I wanted him to know how important he has been to me, to us, and hoped that it was okay that I used his photographs in this way.

He replied, thanking me for bringing his work to my students and went on to say how his sister had taught middle school, too. He was grateful for me! I was reminded that appreciation, attention, is love—and I do love this. (I hope you do, too.)

Steve McCurry Curated

Philippines, 2014

“On pavements and the bark of trees I have found whole worlds.”
– Mark Tobey

Myanmar/Burma, 1994

“There is no end to the beauty for the person who is aware. Even the cracks between the sidewalk contain geometric patterns of amazing beauty.”
Matthew Fox

South Africa, 1996

“You could start at a path leading nowhere more fantastic than from your own front steps to the sidewalk, and from there you could go… well, anywhere at all.”
– Stephen King

Brazil, 2012

Kashmir, 1998

“The first sidewalks made their appearance around 2000 BCE in what is now Turkey,  and there is evidence that both the ancient Greeks and Romans incorporated roadside pedestrian footpaths in their cities.”
– Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

USA/Mexico Border, 2016

“The sidewalks were long where I grew up.
They were as veined as the backs
Of my Grandma’s hands…”

– Colleen J. McElroy

Afghanistan, 1992


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8 thoughts on “Sidewalk Stories”

  1. Thanks for sharing the treasure of Steve’s work. I have never heard of him or seen his work. I love that his photos are saturated with vibrancy and a story begging to be told.

  2. Wow! Steve’s work is stunning. I have never heard of him before! I’m now going to Instagram to look through his photos. Thank you for sharing!

  3. These photos are amazing and inspiring. So many places to jump off and start writing. Photographs ar inspirations for so many untold stories. Thanks for sharing .

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