10 great Sebastião Salgado quotes about photojournalism

World-renowned photojournalist Sebastião Salgado is known for his intensely demanding, long-term projects that focus on themes of nature and humanity. ‘Workers’, ‘Migrations’ and ‘Genesis’ are three such projects that comprise hundreds of pictures from around the world.

Creating powerful black-and-white imagery that has the power to instigate change has become Salgado’s life mission. “Photography is the language that gives people the opportunity to see what you saw,” he says.

But the former Magnum photographer started out on a different track to documentary photography: he studied economics in Brazil and journeyed to Paris to complete a PhD before turning to photography in 1973.

Taken from the interview on the Canon stand at The Photography Show 2017, here are 10 Sebastião Salgado quotes that lift the lid on what photojournalism is really about:

1. Take your time
“Photography is much more than just taking pictures – it is a way of life. What you feel, what you want to express, is your ideology and your ethics. It’s a language that allows you to travel over the wave of history.”

2. Infuse your photography with your ideals
“Photography is deeply subjective. It is my way of seeing – my pictures are made with my political and ideological ideas.”

3. Make the most of your access
“It is a privilege to be a photographer – to have the opportunity to be there.”

4. Don’t rush a story
“When you [capture] a story, it must be your story, your choice. You must have 100 per cent identification with your story – a patience with the subject that you shoot.”

5. Discuss and consider your stories
“I have a partner that I work with: my wife. The most important thing in all my life was the day that I met my wife. I met her in 1964 and every story that I photographed, we considered, we discussed together. We were motivated by the same ethical and political reasons to do these stories.”

6. Prepare a strong concept
“The time spent photographing in the field is only one per cent of the time. The time I take to consider – to prepare, to design, to have the concept – is a full lifetime. That’s the point with photography.”

7. Live your photography
“When you see these pictures they are much more than just nice pictures, than just a story. It is my life.”

8. Don’t take life for granted
“I am not a believer. But if there is one power superior that can guide us, for me, it is evolution. How we came to be what we are today – what a culmination of experience we have. There is a big power there.”

9. All of Earth’s creatures are equal
On his picture, Marine iguana, Galápagos, Ecuador, 2004: “Every movement in the arm of the iguana is the same that we have in our arm – I identify with the iguana as my cousin. All of us came from the same cells. In a moment it was possible to be an iguana and the iguana to be me.”

10. Photographers are the eyes of the world
“Photography is the language that gives people the opportunity to see what you saw.”
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10 great Sebastião Salgado quotes about photojournalism
via Canon

Genesis and Early Works by Sebastião Salgado

In 2004, Salgado began shooting Genesis, his longest and most comprehensive photographic project to date. The series lasted eight years and involved expeditions to 32 different countries. Genesis marked a drastic change of course for Salgado. In his earlier projects, Workers (1993) and Migrations (2000), he captured the trials and tribulations of humanity and the damage incurred by nature in their wake. In Genesis, Salgado sought out the mountains, deserts, oceans, animals and peoples that have escaped the imprint of modern society, as a way of inspiring hope and encouraging the preservation of what is left of our ecological balance.

SebastiãoSalgado03a SebastiãoSalgado03b SebastiãoSalgado03c SebastiãoSalgado03d SebastiãoSalgado03e SebastiãoSalgado03f SebastiãoSalgado03g SebastiãoSalgado03h SebastiãoSalgado03i SebastiãoSalgado03jBorn in Brazil in 1944, Salgado has been the recipient of numerous photographic prizes in recognition of his accomplishments, including the Gold Medal Award for Photography from the National Arts Club in New York. Several books have been published on Salgado’s work including Workers, Migrations and Genesis. Salgado was part of the well-known cooperative agency, Magnum Photos, for 15 years before founding his own agency, Amazonas images, in Paris with his wife Léila Wanick Salgado. Since 2013, Genesis has been touring to leading museums around the world including the British Museum, London, UK; International Centre of Photography, New York; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; Ara Pacis Museum, Rome and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. A documentary film on the life and work of Salgado, The Salt of The Earth, debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and was internationally released in December 2014.

Sebastião Salgado Photography

via Nicolas Metivier Gallery