“Canisters” of Loneliness

My first heroes in photography were Ansel Adams and Steve McCurry. That explains why black-and-white photography, street photography and photojournalism have always been fascinating to me. Their works evoke feelings of awe and empathy with their storytelling through the lens.

Despite the recent scandal surrounding McCurry’s work, his “Asylum in Afghanistan” continues to haunt my memory ever since I saw it in a photo exhibition here many years ago.

mccurryslide6
Asylum in Afghanistan by Steve McCurry (via http://dirty-mag.com/v2/?p=4518)

The photo features four patients in a mental asylum in Afghanistan. I remember that the very first thought I had when I saw the piece was how the four in the photo looked like “canisters of loneliness, despair and misery.”

I’m not sure why the word “canisters” came into my mind that day, but it stuck ever since, and I can still feel that exact emotion through this word. Looking at the photo, each felt like they had a whole lot of story in them that they could not express, and their stories would continue to be locked inside them, following them, taunting them, driving them further down the spiral, making it all the more heartbreaking for me.

2 thoughts on ““Canisters” of Loneliness

  1. Evelyn

    Wow you made me look at this picture more than I would ordinarily have! I’m fascinated by your interpretation… For me, it’s less stark–the guy in the front is looking inwards, into the world he’s created for himself. Not so different from dreamers…

    Like

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