Posted on February 12, 2016
“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” – Oscar Wilde
There are not so many good places to wander about with your camera in Qatar. But the Souq Waqif is one of them and is one of MB’s favourite spots in the locality. Lots of interesting subject matter floating around down there, and being a bit of a tourist haunt, nobody takes much notice of camera geeks doing camera stuff.
Just before Christmas, MB was wandering around the Souq and one of the Souq artists caught his eye. Or rather, 2 of his sketches caught MB’s eye. Interesting that both are of young girls and both come from different fields of ‘Art’, namely Photography & Painting. MB notes that many in the ‘Art’ world do not consider ‘Photography’ part of the world of ‘Art’. But that’s a discussion and debate for another day.
The sketch top right is a representation of one of the most famous photographs in the history of photography, called – Afghan Girl. It appeared as a cover photo of National Geographic magazine in June 1985. The photo was shot in a Pakistani refugee camp one year earlier, and the photographer never took note of the girl’s name at the time. Her green eyes and the intensity of her stare were striking, and the sketch, with respect, does not do justice to the original. The photo, by Nat Geo photographer Steve McCurry, was shot with a Nikon film camera, and is often compared to De Vinci’s painting ‘Mona Lisa’.
McCurry tracked his subject down in 2002, in a remote village in Afghanistan. The subject of the shot (Sharbat Gula, of Pashtun ethnicity) was unaware of the fame of the photo, albeit she remembered the photo being taken, as it was one of only three times in her life that anyone had taken a photo of her. The search for her became a TV documentary and also featured in Nat Geo magazine in April 2002.
The sketch to the left of ‘Afghan Girl’ is a sketch of one of the most famous paintings in the world, called – ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’, by famous 17th-century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. It sits in a museum in the Hague since 1902.