SEBASTIÃO SALGADO (b 1944)
Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado is best known for his captivating black and white photographs of the natural world and those inhabiting it. Salgado trained as an economist before discovering photography in the early 1970s while working in London for the International Coffee Organisation. Now one of the world’s most influential living photographers, his work spotlights global issues in relation to labour, nature and climate change. His practice has taken him to over 120 countries, with subjects ranging from workers in the burning oil fields of Kuwait to the breathtaking landscapes of Antarctica.
Salgado is the recipient of numerous accolades, including the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant in 1982; a Foreign Honorary Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992; and the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship in 1993. He was made a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2001, and became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts at the Institut de France in April 2016. His work is held in public collections internationally, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Tate, London; and the Getty Museum, Los Angeles. He has been the subject of various solo shows at major institutions, including the Natural History Museum, London; the National Museum of Singapore; the Sejong Centre, Singapore; and Prague Castle, Prague.
Magnum Opus is representative of over five decades of Salgado's photographic expeditions around the world. This collection of images highlights works from two of his most recent series, Amazônia and Genesis, alongside earlier works from the acclaimed Other Americas and Workers series.
Genesis is Salgado’s third long-term project, spanning an eight year period in which Salgado travelled the globe, from the Galapagos Islands and Madagascar to Antarctica and Siberia, photographing the diverse beauty of our natural world and those who inhabit it. The resulting series of breath-taking black and white photographs sought to, Salgado reflected, "not photograph what is destroyed, but what is still pristine, to show what we must hold and protect."
For Amazônia, Salgado travelled to the Brazilian Amazon, meticulously recording its natural beauty and those inhabiting it. From powerful aerial images of twisting streams to photographs of the daily life of the Yanomami people, Salgado testifies to the region’s diversity where, he says, "the power of nature can be felt as nowhere else on earth."