©Steve McCurry

Childhood Hope

Sometimes, while reviewing his archive of images, “a theme emerges that tells a powerful story in a new way,” says photographer Steve McCurry. That’s what happened while he was selecting images for an exhibition: He realized his trove of child portraits from the past four decades would make for a wonderful book. Thus, his latest collection, “Stories & Dreams: Portraits of Childhood” (Laurence King Publishing Ltd), was born.

McCurry’s favorite image from the book is featured on the cover (at top and in gallery). “The picture shows children in a classroom in the Afghan city of Bamiyan. I was there in 2007. I think the photo tells a lot about what childhood means: the looks in the children’s eyes, the eyes in which there is so much eagerness and curiosity and a sense of new beginnings. This complete innocence, in the middle of a very precarious life situation—only children can do that.” 

Amanda Arnold is a senior editor.