Sebastiao Salgado (born February 8, 1944 in Aimorés,
Minas Gerais, Brazil) is a Brazilian documentary photographer and
After a somewhat itinerant childhood, Salgado initially trained as an
economist, earning a masterís degree in economics from the University of
Sao Paulo in Brazil. He began work as an economist for the International
Coffee Organization, often traveling to Africa on missions for the World
Bank, when he first started seriously taking photographs. He chose to
abandon a career as an economist and switched to photography in 1973,
working initially on news assignments before veering more towards
documentary-type work. Salgado initially worked with the Paris based
agency Gamma, but in 1979 he joined the international cooperative of
photographers Magnum Photos. He left Magnum in 1994 and formed his own
agency, Amazonas Images, in Paris to represent his work. He is
particularly noted for his documentary photography of workers in less
developed nations. Longtime gallery director Hal Gould considers Salgado
to be the most important photographer of the early 21st century, and gave
him his first show in the United States.
Salgado works on long term, self assigned projects many of which have been
published as books: The Other Americas, Sahel, Workers, and Migrations.
The latter two are mammoth collections with hundreds of images each from
all around the world. His most famous pictures are of a gold mine in
Brazil called Serra Pelada. He is presently working on a project called
Genesis photographing the landscape, flora and fauna of places on earth
that have not been taken over by man.
Most recently, Salgado has displayed in September and October 2007 his
pictures of Coffee workers from India, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Brazil at
the Brazilian Embassy in London. The aim of the project was to raise
public awareness of the origins of the popular drink.