Sebastião Salgado: Genesis

The Unspoilt Planet

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis from Edmond Terakopian on Vimeo.

In 2004, Sebastião began the Genesis project, aimed at presenting the unblemished face of nature and humanity. Genesis consists of a series of landscape and wildlife photographs, as well as photographs of human communities that continue to live in accordance with their ancestral traditions and cultures, shot across 32 countries, over an eight year period. This body of work was conceived as a potential path to humanity’s rediscovery of itself in nature.

World premiere of Sebastiao Salgado's Genesis Exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, UK. April 09, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

World premiere of Sebastiao Salgado’s Genesis Exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, UK. April 09, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Sebastião Salgado’s photographic exhibition Genesis is unveiled for its world premiere at the Natural History Museum on Thursday 11 April (and will run until September 8th, 2013). Edited, designed and curated by Lélia Wanick Salgado, the exhibition includes 200 epic black-and-white photographs that celebrate the majesty of nature and examine the balance of human relationships with our fragile planet.

World premiere of Sebastião Salgado's Genesis Exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, UK. April 09, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

World premiere of Sebastião Salgado’s Genesis Exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, UK. April 09, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Accompanying the exhibition is an equally amazing book published by Taschen. For the collector, there are bigger, limited edition volumes, with photographic prints.

Since elephants are hunted by poachers in Zambia, they are scared of humans and vehicles. Alarmed when they see an approaching car, they usually run quickly into the bush.  Kafue National Park. Zambia. July and August 2010. Photo: © Sebastião SALGADO / Amazonas images/nbpictures

Since elephants are hunted by poachers in Zambia, they are scared of humans and vehicles. Alarmed when they see an approaching car, they usually run quickly into the bush. Kafue National Park. Zambia. July and August 2010. Photo: © Sebastião SALGADO / Amazonas images/nbpictures

Speaking about the exhibition, Sebastião Salgado commented, ‘Genesis is about beginnings. It is about the unspoiled planet, the most pristine parts, and a way of life that is traditional and in harmony with nature. I wanted to present places that were untouched and remain so to this day.

World premiere of Sebastião Salgado's Genesis Exhibition, Natural History Museum, London. April 09, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

World premiere of Sebastião Salgado’s Genesis Exhibition, Natural History Museum, London. April 09, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

I want people to see our planet in another way, to feel moved and be brought closer to it. I want them to become more conscious of the environment, to feel respect for nature because this is something that is relevant to everyone.’

Iceberg between Paulet Island and the South Shetland Islands on the Antarctic Channel.  At sea level, earlier flotation levels are clearly visible where the ice has been polished by the ocean’s constant movement. High above, a shape resembling a castle tower has been carved by wind erosion and detached pieces of ice.  The Antarctic Peninsula. January and February 2005. Photo: © Sebastião SALGADO / Amazonas images/nbpictures

Iceberg between Paulet Island and the South Shetland Islands on the Antarctic Channel. At sea level, earlier flotation levels are clearly visible where the ice has been polished by the ocean’s constant movement. High above, a shape resembling a castle tower has been carved by wind erosion and detached pieces of ice. The Antarctic Peninsula. January and February 2005. Photo: © Sebastião SALGADO / Amazonas images/nbpictures

Sebastião Salgado was a driving force behind me taking up photography as a career. When I first saw his image, often referred to as “the crucifix” from the open gold mine in Brazil, I was totally stunned; my mind and eyes were opened like never before, as I discovered a new way of seeing and an epic way of using a camera to convey a story. Personally I have never looked back. They say, one should never meet one’s heroes as disappointment is guaranteed. I’m thankful to say that when I met Sebastião Salgado and his wife, curator and editor Lélia Wanick Salgado at their book signing in Taschen’s London store, it was a special moment. Genuinely lovely, passionate and talented with absolute modesty and elegance. My career has always been inspired by the work and now I’m glad to say that it continues to be inspired by the person too.

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis book signing.   Photographer Sebastião Salgado. TASCHEN Store London, 12 Duke of York Square, London. April 10, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis book signing. Photographer Sebastião Salgado. TASCHEN Store London, 12 Duke of York Square, London. April 10, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

As a press launch (just like a private view) is never the best time to see an exhibition; one’s always busy working. From the parts of the exhibition I did manage to see, I cannot recommend this exhibition highly enough. I foresee that I’ll be visiting it several times over the coming weeks and months. It should be on everyone’s “to do” list. It is quite literally awesome. I also cannot recommend the book highly enough either. It’s an amazing body of work, with an extremely important message. Go see it.

Addendum: I went to see the exhibition and spent several hours wondering around the various rooms, exploring various aspects of the project. It is magnificent. Amazing imagery, amazing prints and very well curated too. One gets really drawn into the images, discovering amazing details and subtleties. Equally, stepping back from some of the images, brings the graphic elements of the composition to play. I cannot recommend this exhibition highly enough. Book your ticket and time slot and visit; it is quite literally awesome.

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis book signing.   L-R: Lélia Wanick Salgado (wife, curator & editor of the book) and photographer Sebastião Salgado. TASCHEN Store London, 12 Duke of York Square, London. April 10, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis book signing. L-R: Lélia Wanick Salgado (wife, curator & editor of the book) and photographer Sebastião Salgado. TASCHEN Store London, 12 Duke of York Square, London. April 10, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

10 responses to “Sebastião Salgado: Genesis

  1. Thank you for this post and the video Ed. I will be going for sure.

  2. fantastic! what a privilege it must be to have met him.

  3. One of my all time favourite photographers too Edmond. I love the fact that he truly embraces monochrome photography, as do I. Definitely not an outmoded art-form as some pretentious photographers and critics would say. Can’t wait to get the time to see the exhibition!

  4. A wonderful little documentary within a story itself Ed. Lovely pictures and an inspirational post – I’m aiming to get to London very soon to see the exhibition. I just wish I could have met the great man myself.

  5. Pingback: Sebastião Salgado – TED Talk | Photo This & That

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