Sketch: A great guide

Steve McCurry, Golden Rock, Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar

I believe that having a great guide on your side makes it so much easier to appreciate an art exhibition. It’s the same in our lives: Having someone pointing out what we would have otherwise missed, makes it easier to see the magic in life.

Visiting an exhibition

Last Sunday we took a guided tour to see Steve McCurry’s famous photographs. I had strolled through the exhibition before. But his time, with an excellent storyteller on our side, the whole experience was completely different.

The stories behind the photographs

One of the first stops was in front of the famous portrait of the Afghan girl. Learning about the heartbreaking story helped me understand the look in the girl’s eyes for the first time: The fear, confusion and glimpse of hope for a better future. Some years later Steve returned to thank the girl that had made him famous. He found her, married, with three children. She allowed him to take a second portrait. Sadly, on this second portrait, I could not find that sparkle of hope any longer.

Towards the end of the tour we stopped in front of the photograph I captured in this sketch. It shows the Golden Rock in Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar.

At first sight this picture did not catch my attention. It was only when the guide told us the legend of the rock, that I understood how this photograph symbolizes our hope that somehow someone will protect us to not fall over a cliff and get hurt. In the case of the Golden Rock the legend says, that a single strand of Buddha’s hair tucked under the rock stops it from falling down.

Be your own guide

Having a good storyteller on your side is of immeasurable help if you want to fully appreciate and connect to a piece of art.

I believe it’s the same in life.

We can only appreciate life if our internal guide, our mind, is fresh and interested to dig a little bit deeper. By learning about the stories hidden behind the surface, we can create connections to people and places, that will make us feel alive.


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