I looked through a lens and ended up abandoning everything else. – Sebastião Salgado
For the photographer Sebastião Salgado, photography is not an artistic medium, it is a language, “my life, my way of doing things.” Photography for him is a way of bringing to light the reality of the human condition. His photos, while deeply compassionate aim to highlight man’s terrible potential, the dark side of human nature. Covering pressing social issues across the world, he has worked on a number of assignments and long-term reportages throughout his industrious career. He’s documented the Serra-Pelada gold mines in Brazil, witnessed the crippling famine in Africa, reported from ground-level on the environmental devastation of the oil fields in Kuwait, and captured the mass-exodus of repressed people fleeing the Rwandan genocide.
To look at one of Salgado’s photographs, it’s not easy to come away without being touched in some way; the image stays with you, haunting and undeniably beautiful. The unsparing pictures that make up his oeuvre now stand as a testament to our troubled history, a history shaped by wars and repression.
Other noted projects of Salgado’s include Workers, a chronicle of manual labour in twenty-six countries across the world and Genesis – his tribute to planet earth, a quest to capture nature in its untouched state. As he now turns his lens onto other species, Salgado has learned to appreciate the trees, ants and termites of the forests, valuing their importance as a part of the ever-changing world around us.
Now filling the entire gallery space at the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica, is a large-scale retrospective of Salgado’s work. Comprised of almost seventy prints, the exhibition will showcase over three decades of work including iconic images from his major bodies of work, along with rare singular images from the gallery’s preeminent collection.
Peter Fetterman Gallery, 2525 Michigan Avenue, #A1. Santa Monica, CA 90404. Showing until June 11, 2016.
Chinstrap Penguins on an iceberg located between Zavodovski and Visokoi islands. South Sandwich Islands, 2009 © Amazonas Images/Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery