Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sebastião Salgado

I remember very well the first time I saw a photo by Sebastião Salgado, some 20 years ago. It was in a newspaper article about his work with the people at Serra Pelada gold mine, in Brazil. This was the photo:

photo by Sebastião Salgado

This image can only be truly appreciated when seen in larger size. If you can, take a look at Sebastião's book "An Uncertain Grace", where it was published. It is not one of his most famous photos, it is not even one of my favorites today. But at the time I found it impressive (and I still think it is!). For a few minutes I just  stared, not only overwhelmed by the image's content, but also amazed by the simple fact that someone could create such a tremendously powerful photo. I have three of Sebastião's books now and, when I browse through them, I still ask myself: "How?!..."

Ironically, I cannot really say that his work is actually inspiring to me. When I look at these images, I can't help but thinking I'll never come close to doing something like this. And then I go into a short depression...

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