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Gallery Of Photos By Sebastao Salgado-Brazil
0 Comments | 2 Likes| Gallery | Photos | Sebastao Salgado | Brazil

Hundreds of people are swarming up ladders, scaling the cliff-like sides of a gargantuan, man-made pit. Is it a picture of hell? Some kind of spirit photograph showing life in the Aztec empire? In fact, Sebastiao Salgado’s photograph captures gold-grubbers pouring up the side of an opencast mine at Serra Pelada in Brazil. One of a jaw-dropping series he took of the crazed gold rush that created this great hole in the Earth in the 1980s, the shot is bizarrely timeless and disorienting. Few photographs have such power – to make you question your assumptions about the world, to show you something unbelievable yet utterly real.

Salgado is a photojournalist who seeks out the most moving, unsettling, perspective-shifting images of life on Earth. From his mind-swarming images of the Serra Pelada gold mine to his most recent epic labour Genesis, which documents the last pockets of undamaged nature and unmodernised peoples on Earth, Salgado shows secrets from remote places: things you thought were lost, crimes you never imagined. There could scarcely be a better choice for a lifetime achievement award from Photo London, an art fair opening at Somerset House this week. In addition to an exhibition of the Genesis prints, it will feature works by, among others, Stephen Shore, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Vik Muniz and Ori Gersht.

Salgado is not just a great photographer. He may well be the last great photographer – at least in the classic, humane tradition, working in black and white, telling profound truths. You can leaf through any of Salgado’s books and every few pages be pulled up by a shot that seems like one of the best photographs ever taken. In Genesis, the eye of a whale peeps out of the sea, looking back at the photographer. A group of African herders move among long-horned cattle in an ethereal dust cloud. A baboon balances on a sand dune. These pictures rank with the masterpieces of Cartier-Bresson. But Salgado is not sure if his kind of serious photography can survive the digital age. Photography, he says, is now turning into something else: “Your father and mother, when you were a child, they took precious photographs of you. They went to the shop on the corner to get them developed. That is a memory. That is photography.”


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