This is an artist that not only do I look at the quality of his work and want to hang it on my wall after looking at it I want to do something to help the people I see in the images. His images create emotions they make us think. In my previous studies for this course there have been debates of what is more effective a graphic war image or an image of the aftermath perhaps or a more subtle image. Salgados images are not graphic in a way that we look away or become immune they are designed to make us look study and think. Every image is telling us a story from the detail of the cloths of the people in it to their surroundings, to the look in their eyes be it of hope, despair or the fight they have in them to survive. The images here are from the Unicef website they are images that can be bought in poster form which were donated by salgado to Unicef. This in itself a testament to Salagados desire to help the people he photographs. Salgado has been criticised for making money out of taking pictures of people who could never afford to buy them. I feel very strongly that Salgados images have brought more good than bad to these people in the awareness they raise of the plight of those around us which could be so easily ignored and yet these images stick in your mind longer than most they stay there reminding you that you have yet to do something to help these people.
The above image is a story in itself it shows us the surroundings of this refugee camp in Tanzania however it also shows a mother looking after her child. The image makes us think of any parent doting on their child who wants the best for them. This woman is striving to do just that in the most difficult of living conditions. There is evidence of how the people cook and the tents they live in. All these details tell us a story and this is what I need to think about for my next assignment. I can do this with several images however they objective is a narrative.
This image above caught my attention also the cloths tell us something of the poverty of the boy while he is sitting on a bench made of twigs. His arms are crossed in a self protective kind of way and yet he is aware of the camera. He is confident judging by his stance however his eyes look beyond the camera this boy has suffered and seen more hardship and pain than any person should see in their lifetime.
The traditional cloths the hair all tell us something about this girl the mountains behind. We are carried with the image to imagine the girls life her story.
I could never do such justice to my subjects as Salagado however I believe each image he takes tells us a story and I admire the dignity and respect he gives to each person he photographs I feel it is inspiring. I have tried never to offend with my images or to photograph who does not want to be photographed and I believe it is important to show the strength and personality in who I photograph.
I have attached below one image of the local market of a vendor. The aim of this image was to show how this person works and a little bit of his life.
This man who keeps fish swimming in a large bucket beside him and whenever you like he takes one and you can have it cooked on the bar-b-q or chopped up in a soup. The conditions show a simple set up and not a wealthy fish display as we would see in a supermarket. Note also the picture behind his head a calendar. His hands show he has worked however his shirt is fresh and pressed. There is pride in his work and it costs to have a stall in the local market he is a successful man maintaining his family. The fishing nets tell us he has gone out and fished what we see at the market.
See also my post on Salgado by Parvati Nair.
In my pointers for Assignment 5 one of the suggestions from my tutor was to look at the narrative work of Martin Parr particularly his work on Hebden Bridge and Brighton. I have read a little about this artist while looking at contemporary art and I have to say taking a peek again made me think. The images are quirky and seem a little to be everyday shots however on closer inspection one sees that they are also a little mocking. Having read the article suggested by my tutor http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3615454/Martin-Parr-is-acclaimed-for-his-brash-colour-satured-images-of-the-lives-and-foibles-of-regular-folk.-As-he-prepares-to-curate-the-prestigious-Arles-photography-festival-he-talks-to-Martin-Gayford-about-the-ambiguity-that-lies-beneath-his-work-Ordinary-lives-extraordinary-photographs.html I have learned that Parr is mocking himself and his own in many ways. Some may think he is being patronising of british middle class and perhaps a little but there seems to be an affection within them also. His images appear to be snaps however the composition is evident for example in this shot of two ladies in a church which I have taken from the Telegraph website. Or Or this which I have taken from the BBC website. There is a lot of thought gone into the composition and he is making a statement with his images while merely snapping at what he sees. The next picture I will show here is an image which to me tells a story in a single image. To me it tells us of the type of people who are seen at this seaside village, the abundance of everything available to them, the polite way the lady is posed and the gentleman with his cap while contrasting with the rubbish around and how indifferent they seem to it them is making quite the statement. I also note how the lady is pointing in the background I keep looking around this image and every time see different things and learn more about the place. This style of photography the first time I saw it did not make such an impression I am currently in Thailand and while seeing many impressive landscapes and enjoying the Thai people and there friendly ways which are exotic to me there is one other thing which has caught my attention and that is tourists like myself here on holiday. This is a project I would like to purse the Selfie.
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.
On this gallery visit their are many young artists on display modern sculpture and all sorts of material being used. There is one which I loved and I have filed the technique for evaluation at a lager date. It is a series by
Robert Milelenhausen of bikes around NYC. Old bikes tied to various lamp posts railings. There are a few things that stuck out to me. The mixed media of painting and photo where it is hard to tell where one begins and the other ends however very effective. I was lucky enough to meet the artist while I was there and he explained to me how each picture was on the back of an old wooden door. It was interesting how such a simple subject was portrayed in I would say a romantic light. Each bike makes you think of who owns it. Where have the taken it to. Are they visiting a friend a love and the bike remains faithfully outside. Many of them are old bikes and have had other owners they have stories to tell. I liked the titles “Lingering thoughts” and “New Morning” for example they already make us think.
See what you think for yourself. The gallery is at 548 west 28th street NYC
Other Inspiring Photographers featured on this blog.
Other Galleries Visited
Pace MacGill featuring Irving Penn NYC
Mai Hao Gallery Hungary
Lumas Gallery NYC