Monday, February 13, 2012


Today, I’m going to take a page out of Cara and Jeff’s book and exchange photographs for words.

All of the images below were shot by one man, probably the greatest photographer the early twenty-first century has produced.

And all were shot in black-and-white, the medium he prefers.

This is the man:

Sebastião Salgado trained to be an economist, took a master’s degree at the University of São Paulo and worked for the International Coffee Organization. Then, at the age of 29, he decided to transform his hobby into his profession and struck out on his own as a photographer.

In the course of the last forty years, Salgado has travelled all over the world making photographs.

Sometimes of nature.

But mostly of people.

Capturing them from the rivers of the Mato Grosso…

 …to the tea plantations of Rwanda.

 And from the gold fields of Pará…

 …to the oil fields of Iraq.

Some shots could only be called beautiful.

But others...

...many others...

sear the soul.

Probably his most famous quote: “It’s not the photographer who makes the picture. It’s the person being photographed.”

These days, Salgado works on self-assigned, long-term projects - and publishes them in book form.

His books aren't cheap:

But, believe me, they’re worth every centavo.

Leighton - Monday


  1. I love his work. Back when I ran a film studio research library, I bought every volume of his I could get my hands on.

  2. Amazing photos, Leighton. Love the way you introduced the man and his work :)

  3. Really striking. He looks like a man dedicated to the truth.

  4. I've always loved his work. It's never failed to move me. Thanks for sharing.

  5. These are strong, emotional images. Thanks.

    1. Salgado: I have been moved by his photos for years. His photographs reflecting the human condition, including of working people worldwide, are absolutely amazing.

      They exemplify the adage that "one picture is worth a thousand words." I think his images are worth thousands of words. Each one tells an incredible story.

      Now that I've seen these photos and am in tears, worrying about the people of the world, I think I'll read some crime fiction.

  6. I love Salgado and all these are beautiful, emotional images. But for the sake of truth I have to say that the last one doesn't belong to Salgado: it's an image by Tom Stoddart depicting the famine in Sudan... A man (walking outside the frame) has just stolen a bag food from a victim of the famine (crawling).

  7. Anonymous (July 10, 2012):

    Thank you very much for the correction.
    Duly noted.

    Tom Stoddard:
    Brilliant! Very touching, very sad. I don't envy you the experience of having seen this first-hand.

    Other readers:
    My apologies for the error.