War Photography: Sebastião Salgado

Sebastiao Salgado

  • Sebastião Salgado went to 40 countries in six years to be among the world’s migrants and refugees so that he could tell visual stories of their difficult journeys as they leave their homes for places and lives unknown to them.
  • Salgado is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
  • “They were frightened, uncomfortable and humiliated. Yet they allowed themselves to be photographed, I believe, because they wanted their plight to be made known. When I could, I explained to them that this was my purpose. Many just stood before my camera and addressed it as they might a microphone.”
  • He is a superstar in the Robert Capa, Chim and Henri Cartier-Bresson tradition, and what he photographs is not what most of his audience, or at least most of the audience for his latest exhibition at the International Center of Photography in Midtown Manhattan, would regard as normal life.
  • Born in Brazil, first became an economist and whilst traveling began taking photography seriously.
  • The photo in Quito reminded me of pictures we see of disasters like the Syrian Refugee, and the difference between them.
  • Migration has been a factor of human civilization since the very beginning, so seeing these photos doesn’t portray the assumed amount of pain and suffering these people went through.
  • In the Syrian Refugee photos, between the little boy who drowned on the beach, the father crying as he carries his children off the boat, and the little boy sitting emotionless in the ambulance, these all have a shock factor, a very in your face feeling that makes you uncomfortable, while Salgado’s photos are beautiful, mysterious, and not entirely straightforward. The photos display the people doing things that seem rather “normal”.

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