PARIS, France – Legendary photojournalist Sebastião Salgado reflects on a life devoted to documenting people and the planet and explains his shift to focusing on nature.
Salgado, who is turning 80, has a vast body of work covering hundreds of assignments in 130 countries over several decades. His iconic black-and-white compositions with dramatic lighting have earned him recognition alongside esteemed figures such as Robert Capa, Eugene Smith, and Margaret Bourke-White.
Despite his still-strong and active demeanor, Salgado’s body bears the physical toll of his years working in hostile and challenging places around the world. As a result, he has decided it’s time to retire from fieldwork.
Notably, Salgado is now engaged in editing his monumental archive, which boasts over 500,000 images. Reflecting on his impressive career, he is preparing for various projects, including an exhibit at London’s Somerset House and a collaboration with the Wende Museum in Los Angeles.
The renowned photographer is also gearing up for a special show during Cop30 in northern Brazil, featuring an exhibition with 255 giant pictures from his Amazônia project and a concert with compositions by Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Salgado’s career took a profound turn when he transitioned from focusing on people to nature, a shift that has extended his impact on environmental and humanitarian issues. Notably, his work has become a touchstone for these crucial topics, leaving a lasting legacy in the photography world.
Salgado’s willingness to face criticism head-on and his significant contribution to raising awareness of environmental and humanitarian issues are evident in his dedication to his craft. His transition from people to nature sparked a new era in his photography career, leading to a renewed passion for capturing the beauty and vulnerability of the natural world.
As he continues to navigate the complexities of the environmental and humanitarian issues, Salgado’s work serves as a conversation starter and a catalyst for change, creating a lasting impact in the world of photography.