Afghan girl, 1984
This is perhaps one of the most popular photographs ever taken – it was turned into posters hanging in random bedrooms around the world – and yet few people know its origins. The famous photo of the Afghan girl was taken by photojournalist Steve McCurry during a trip to Afghanistan, during which he documented local refugees.
He spotted a girl with piercing green eyes at a girls’ school in a refugee camp. Only years later, he learned the girl’s name was Sharbat Gula. The photographer took photos of the other kids around, hoping the shy girl would want to be included have her picture taken. The portrait received critical praise and the girl was referred to as the “Third World Mona Lisa.”