McCurry Afghan Girl


Girl in red headscarf with piercing green eyes looking directly at the viewer.

Steve McCurry
b. 1950 Philadelphia, PA
Afghan Girl, 1984, printed 2007
Fuji Crystal Archive print
21 1/4 x 14 1/8 inches
Accession date: 2008
Gift of the artist
Copyright the artist


Language Arts

Grade Range





Museum trip


Index cards

About the Artist

As a documentary photographer, Steve McCurry has traveled to the far corners of the earth to shoot landscapes and cultures with emotional depth and beauty. In his photographs, McCurry looks for what he calls “the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, the experience etched on a person’s face.” “I want to see everything – the whole planet, the good and the bad – and document it so that hopefully there can be some understanding. That’s what I am, what I do.”

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, McCurry worked at a newspaper for a few years. Deciding to freelance, he traveled to India where he learned to watch and wait. McCurry’s career launched with his National Geographic cover story about the 1980s Afghanistan conflict and his Afghan Girl photograph.

Learning Goal

To use adjectives to describe the photograph Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry.

I Can Statement

 I can use adjectives to describe the photograph Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry.


Adjective, noun, mood, shape, category, pose


  • Define adjectives: an adjective is a word that describes a noun.
  • Review nouns: nouns are people, places or things.
  • Give a few examples of adjectives and elicit a few more from the class.
  • Introduce/review and discuss the vocabulary.
  • Point out that the artist is Steve McCurry.
  • Record the following elicited adjectives on index cards:
  1. pose (relaxed, casual or stiff).
  2. texture (smooth, rough, thick, soft or hard).
  3. facial features and the head in general (expression, hairstyle, details).
  4. clothing (style, type and general appearance).
  5. moods evoked by the portrait (happy, sad, serious, angry, calm or none at all.).
  6. shapes and types of lines they observe (straight, curvy or diagonal). 
  7. color in the photograph (bright, dull, warm or cool).
  8. background (dark, colorful, plain).
  9. setting (location, season, time of day). 
  • Have the children classify the adjectives on the index cards into categories.


List adjectives to describe yourself.


Write five sentences describing family members or friends.

Florida Standards

Florida Language Arts Standards Grades K-5

  • Vocabulary: VA.1.C.3.1 / VA.2.C.3.1 / VA.3.C.3.1 / VA.4.C.3.1
  • Use Accurate Vocabulary to Communicate Ideas about Art: 
  • VA.1.S.1.4 / VA.2.S.1.4 / VA.3.S.1.4 / VA.4.S.1.4 / VA.5.S.1.4
  • Adjectives: LAFS.K1.L.3.5 / LAFS.2.L.3.6 / LAFS.3.L.1.1 / LAFS.4.L.1.1
  • Nouns: LAFS.K.L.1.1 / LAFS.1.L.1.1 / LAFS.2.L.1.1 / LAFS.3.L.1.1 / LAFS.4.L.1.1

Florida Language Arts Standards Grades 6-8

  • Vocabulary: VA.68.C.3.1
  • Use Accurate Vocabulary to Communicate Ideas about Art: VA.68.S.1.4
  • Nouns: LAFS.68.L.1.1

Florida Language Arts Standards Grades 9-12

  • Use Accurate Vocabulary to Communicate Ideas about Art: VA.912.S.1.4
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