The silent drama of photograph
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.