For my Assignment 5 I wanted to do a more in depth study of a couple of photographers to understand them better. I chose this book on Salgado I feel to be a very important photojournalist and artist of our times. A Different light Sebastiao Salgado – Parvati Nair This book takes an in depth look in Sebastiao Salgados work. His origins as a Brasilian Economist and the fact that he and his wife were exiled from their home for a period of ten years this as a basis for his work on the migrant and child workers who have been moved from their place of origin. It also tackles the debate over the aesthetics of Salgados work if it is correct to display such hard ship in such a beautiful way. The debate over whether it is ethical to include such works of the impoverished for personal gain or should it be allowed in the art world. In many of Salgados images their seems also to be a religious influence although Salgado claims he is not religious. However he does feel that before being a photographer one should have a good concept of who you are photographing a deep understanding of the people. What I have taken from the book is that Salgado had a deep understanding due to his economist background of what caused many of these people to be displaced from their homes. He also knew what is was like to not be able to return to your home even if he never lived in the conditions that they many of his subjects had to endure. Salgados esthetics in his photos is what has brought attention to them and he is trying to give dignity to these subjects while still informing us of their plight. By making such beautiful images of the endurance of these people Salgado first draws us in automatically our eyes are drawn to the beauty and then on closer inspection we see the details the poverty the suffering and the amazing fight for survival within the people he portrays. I believe this is what makes his images so effective. With regards to his critics the book also points out that none of those who criticised his work have a suggestion of how these photographs should have been taken to bring the same amount of public awareness to these topics. As mentioned in the book we look at journalistic work which is to the point of poverty everyday and we become numb to it. Why is it that Salgados work makes us feel the emotions we do. It is often that by studying his images we see the little details. Salgado uses film and photographs in black and white. Within the after process he often paints white on the images where darkness in the image is too much. Within the book we discuss from migrants, to workers to his next work Genesis of which so far we have seen some images and the work is opening up finally this year in galleries across the work. Much of Salgados life has been dedicated to those who have nothing to showing us the damage caused by industrial development in the developing industrial world. What he is calling his final big project Genesis is a turn away from this . Salgado has chosen to show us what is left of beauty in the world. The people whos world have been untouched by development and who have tried to maintain their traditions and ways. He is showing us what we still have. The animals, the nature and the land possible a testament before we destroy what we have left. Perhaps in a last bid to encourage us to save this land before it is too late as we as we know are approaching a point of no return in the world and still we are very slow to react. What Salgado has shown in his images could still be photographed today in many countries, displacement extreme poverty, corruption of governments, indifference and extreme suffering of people is still happening all over the world. Had Salgado not photographed this perhaps less people would be aware of it. I have read this book initially to gain an understanding of Salgados images I believe I have done this and understood what motivated his movements and also how it was done by a person who had a deep knowledge of what he photographed which he believes to be very important for a successful photographer. This has lead me to my own project at the moment I do not believe I can do justice in the way Salgado has however I have taken a long awaited trip to Thailand to all the beautiful places I have heard of as I am a passionate Landscape photographer. Only to be shocked by what I am seeing a developing country where Beautiful resorts are sitting next door to all the garbage they produce abandoned their. Buildings half built and left there. Black water running from pipes into the ocean where we swim. I watched and waited to see reactions of people to this it is as if they do not see. This countries beauty is slowly being destroyed and along with it the economy on which it many people are currently surviving, tourism.
A different Light – The photography of Sebastiao Salgado , Parvati Nair