Sebastião Salgado

Brazilian Photographer | Born: 1944

Salgado was born on February 8th, 1944 in Aimorés, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Having studied economics, Salgado began his career as a professional photographer in 1973 in Paris, working with the photo agencies Sygma, Gamma, and Magnum Photos until 1994, when he and Lélia Wanick Salgado formed Amazonas images, an agency created exclusively for his work. 

He has travelled in over 100 countries for his photographic projects. Most of these, besides appearing in numerous press publications, have also been presented in books such as Other Americas (1986), Sahel: l’homme en détresse (1986), Sahel: el fin del camino (1988), Workers (1993), Terra (1997), Migrations and Portraits (2000), and Africa (2007). Touring exhibitions of this work have been, and continue to be, presented throughout the world.


Salgado has been awarded numerous major photographic prizes in recognition of his accomplishments. He is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and an honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in the United States.

In 2004, Salgado began a project named Genesis, aiming at the presentation of the unblemished faces of nature and humanity. It consists of a series of photographs of landscapes and wildlife, as well as of human communities that continue to live in accordance with their ancestral traditions and cultures. This body of work is conceived as a potential path to humanity’s rediscovery of itself in nature. 

Together with his wife, Lélia, Salgado has worked since the 1990’s on the restoration of a small part of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. In 1998, they succeeded in turning this land into a nature reserve and created the Instituto Terra. The Instituto is dedicated to a mission of reforestation, conservation, and environmental education. (Amazonas Images)



"I have named this project GENESIS because my aim is to return to the beginnings of our planet: to the air, water and the fire that gave birth to life, to the animal species that have resisted domestication, to the remote tribes whose 'primitive' way of life is still untouched, to the existing examples of the earliest forms of human settlement and organization. A potential path towards humanity's rediscovery of itself. So many times I've photographed stories that show the degradation of the planet, I thought the only way to give us an incentive, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet - to see the innocence. And then we can understand what we must preserve." —Sebastião Salgado

Salgado currently lives in Paris with his wife.

Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery


After a somewhat itinerant childhood, Salgado initially trained as an economist, earning a master’s degree in economics from the University of São Paulo in Brazil. He began work as an economist for the International Coffee Organization, often traveling to Africa on missions for the World Bank, when he first started seriously taking photographs. He chose to abandon a career as an economist and switched to photography in 1973, working initially on news assignments before veering more towards documentary-type work. Salgado initially worked with the photo agency Sygma and the Paris-based Gamma, but in 1979, he joined the international cooperative of photographers Magnum Photos. He left Magnum in 1994 and with his wife Lélia Wanick Salgado formed his own agency, Amazonas Images, in Paris, to represent his work. He is particularly noted for his social documentary photography of workers in less developed nations. They reside in Paris.

He has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2001.

Salgado works on long term, self-assigned projects many of which have been published as books: The Other Americas, Sahel, Workers, Migrations, and Genesis. The latter three are mammoth collections with hundreds of images each from all around the world. His most famous pictures are of a gold mine in Brazil called Serra Pelada.

Between 2004 and 2011, Salgado worked on "Genesis," aiming at the presentation of the unblemished faces of nature and humanity. It consists of a series of photographs of landscapes and wildlife, as well as of human communities that continue to live in accordance with their ancestral traditions and cultures. This body of work is conceived as a potential path to humanity’s rediscovery of itself in nature.

In September and October 2007, Salgado displayed his photographs of coffee workers from India, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Brazil at the Brazilian Embassy in London. The aim of the project was to raise public awareness of the origins of the popular drink.

Together, Lélia and Sebastião, have worked since the 1990s on the restoration of a small part of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. In 1998, they succeeded in turning this land into a nature reserve and created the Instituto Terra. The institute is dedicated to a mission of reforestation, conservation and environmental education.

Salgado and his work are the focus of the film The Salt of the Earth (2014), directed by Wim Wenders and Salgado's son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. The film won a special award at Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the best Documentary Feature at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Source: Wikipedia

Other Americas
Author: Sebastião Salgado
Publisher: Aperture
Year: 2015 - Pages: 128
Sebastiao Salgado spent seven years photographing and living with the peoples of Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. His portrait of the daily life there shows us both the cultures and their politics. It is, according to the publisher, "the visual equivalent to the magic of a Gabriel García Márquez tale." One of the most powerful visions of life in Central and South America ever recorded by a photographer.
This book was first published in 1986.
 
Genesis: Sebastião Salgado
Author: Sebastião Salgado
Publisher: Taschen
Year: 2013 - Pages: 520
Having been raised on a rural farm in Brazil, far from civilization and without television, Salgado possessed a deep love and respect for nature; he was also particularly sensitive to the ways in which human beings are affected by their often devastating socio-economic conditions. Of the myriad works Salgado has produced in his esteemed career, three long-term projects stand out: Workers (1993), documenting the vanishing way of life of manual laborers across the world, Migrations (2000), a tribute to mass migration driven by hunger, natural disasters, environmental degradation and demographic pressure, and this new opus, Genesis, the result of an epic eight-year expedition to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society—the land and life of a still-pristine planet. “Some 46% of the planet is still as it was in the time of genesis,” Salgado reminds us. “We must preserve what exists.” The Genesis project, along with Salgado’s Instituto Terra, are dedicated to showing the beauty of our planet, reversing the damage done to it, and preserving it for the future.
 
Workers - Sebastião Salgado
Author: Sebastião Salgado
Publisher: Aperture Foundation
Year: 2005 - Pages: 400
More than those of any other living photographer, Sebastião Salgado's images of the world's poor stand in tribute to the human condition. His transforming photographs bestow dignity on the most isolated and neglected, from famine-stricken refugees in the Sahel to the indigenous peoples of South America. Workers is a global epic that transcends mere imagery to become an affirmation of the enduring spirit of working women and men. The book is an archaeological exploration of the activities that have defined labor from the Stone Age through the Industrial Age, to the present. Divided into six categories--"Agriculture," "Food," "Mining," "Industry," "Oil" and "Construction"--the book unearths layers of visual information to reveal the ceaseless human activity at the core of modern civilization.
 
Sahel: The End of the Road
Author: Sebastião Salgado
Publisher: University of California Press
Year: 2004 - Pages: 152
In 1984 Sebastião Salgado began what would be a fifteen-month project of photographing the drought-stricken Sahel region of Africa in the countries of Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, and Sudan, where approximately one million people died from extreme malnutrition and related causes. Working with the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, Salgado documented the enormous suffering and the great dignity of the refugees. This early work became a template for his future photographic projects about other afflicted people around the world. Since then, Salgado has again and again sought to give visual voice to those millions of human beings who, because of military conflict, poverty, famine, overpopulation, pestilence, environmental degradation, and other forms of catastrophe, teeter on the edge of survival. Beautifully produced, with thoughtful supporting narratives by Orville Schell, Fred Ritchin, and Eduardo Galeano, this first U.S. edition brings some of Salgado's earliest and most important work to an American audience for the first time. Twenty years after the photographs were taken, Sahel: The End of the Road is still painfully relevant.
 
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