“In GENESIS, my camera allowed nature to speak to me. And it was my privilege to listen.” —Sebastião Salgado
On a very fortuitous day in 1970, 26-year-old Sebastião Salgado held a camera for the first time. When he looked through the viewfinder, he experienced a revelation: suddenly life made sense. From that day onward—though it took years of hard work before he had the experience to earn his living as a photographer—the camera became his tool for interacting with the world. Salgado, who “always preferred the chiaroscuro palette of black-and-white images,” shot very little color in his early career before giving it up completely.
Over 30 trips—travelled by foot, light aircraft, seagoing vessels, canoes, and even balloons, through extreme heat and cold and in sometimes dangerous conditions—Salgado created a collection of images showing us nature, animals, and indigenous peoples in breathtaking beauty. Mastering the monochrome with an extreme deftness to rival the virtuoso Ansel Adams, Salgado brings black-and-white photography to a new dimension; the tonal variations in his works, the contrasts of light and dark, recall the works of Old Masters such as Rembrandt and Georges de La Tour.