Epic and biblical. That’s how I would describe Salgado’s work. And let’s not forget the tonal ranges. And textures. And what about the atmosphere they exude? And then there’s the composition. The composition that I used to spend hours staring at, in absolute awe. Add to all this the obvious respect and admiration in which he holds the people he photographs. The way in which he creates artistic and photographic masterpieces despite or because of the subject matter – the famine in Ethiopia, the gold mines in Brazil, death, war torn countries, poverty. Out of all this tragedy comes an immense beauty and respect for the people and landscapes he photographs. Out of all this come absolute works of art.
And to me this is how it should be done. As a photographer, if you are going to invade someone’s life you should damn well make sure you pour your heart and soul into the creation of the image and come away with something that is the best you can possibly hope to achieve. And in Salgado’s case this is nothing short of breathtaking photography. This is the lesson Sebastião Salgado taught me. That it is possible.
If ever an exhibition of his works comes anywhere near you stop at nothing to go and see it. Otherwise there are numerous books of his you can buy. His latest ‘Africa’, published by Taschen is well worth owning.