Sebastião Salgado

June 27 - August, 29, 2015

I very much like to work on long-term projects…There is time for the photographer and the people in front of the camera to understand each other. There is time to go to a place and understand what is happening there. …When you spend more time on a project, you learn to understand your subjects. There comes a time when it is not you who is taking the pictures. Something special happens between the photographer and the people he is photographing. He realizes that they are giving the pictures to him – Sebastião Salgado 

all images copyright (c) Amazonas Images, 2015

To celebrate our 35th anniversary year we begin our exhibition schedule returning to one of the most poignant and profound photographers we have exhibited over the years, Sebastião Salgado. We are very pleased to be bringing Salgado’s work to Santa Fe once again.

Salgado’s powerful and heart-rending images have become icons of the human condition: suffering, ignoble exploitation and degradation; dignity, beauty, eternal hope and survival. It is difficult to look at these images and remain unaffected. Once seen, you are shocked into a new perception of reality. These photographs are brutally frank: images of hunger, suffering and death in the Sahel region of Africa and Ethiopia; remarkable documentation of Brazil’s Serra Pelada gold mine, where 50,000 men reduced a mountain to a 600 foot deep crater searching the earth for nuggets of gold; poignant images of peasant life in remote areas of Central and South America that tell of a marginal existence and at the same time portray a vision of dignity and resiliency in the soul of mankind.

Sebastião Salgado holds a doctorate in economics.   While working in Africa for the International Coffee Organization, he discovered that his clinical work as a social scientist paled to the time he spent working with people directly. He borrowed his wife Lelia’s camera, and was at once amazed at what he could capture in the viewfinder, and how it affected him. This instant was the beginning of his work as a documentary photographer.

In 1977 he began a seven-year self-initiated project photographing in small villages in South America which culminated in his first book Autres Ameriques (Other Americas). During l984-l985 he worked with the French relief group Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) in the Sahel region of Africa, where severe drought had created another famine of monumental proportions. His extraordinary images, dignified and empathetic, were published in France as L’Homme Detresse (Man In Distress) and in Spain as El Fin del Camino (The End of the Road).

In the 1990’s Sebastião’s work concentrated on his photographic project entitled, Workers. Workers served as an elegy for the passing of traditional methods of labor and production. Yet the ultimate message was one of endurance and hope. Salgado gave us a visual global epic that transcends mere image making and becomes an affirmation of the enduring spirit of working people.

On the eve of the millennium Salgado dedicated his energies to another multi-year project entitled, Migrations. Migrations documented the world-altering phenomenon of mass migration. Saldgado’s images collectively serve as a metaphor for the hundreds of millions of people who, in an elemental struggle of survival, have ruptured their ties with the land and tradition in a flight towards other destinies.

Sebastião Salgado’s most recent epic project is entitled Genesis. Genesis is a quest for the world as it was, as it was formed, as it evolved, as it existed for millennia before modern life accelerated and began distancing us from the very essence of being. Salgado wrote of Genesis, “I wanted to recount the dignity and beauty of life in all its forms and show how we all share the same origins…”

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