Sebastião Salgado is a renowned Brazilian photographer who has committed his life’s work to documenting the poorest of the world and those without a voice. In his work he comments on the huge chasm between the rich and the poor, and the often detrimental effects globalization has had on their well-being and quality of life. Alongside these portraits he shoots large scale prints of the majestic wonders of the natural world (scenes that are also under siege due to the industrialization of the world). He works only in black and white photographs, in a reportage style–his works are often very striking and sometimes quite harrowing to look at, they’re rich in both subject matter and the pure quality of his eye for setting up a scene. So much of his work invites the viewer to want to know more, or to imagine the inner life of his subject, his magic is to create an entire story — real or imagined — with each striking image.
Salgado’s incredible body of work is always worth seeing and luckily for anyone in Los Angeles, he is currently exhibiting at the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica until December 2, 2017. The collection is from a series shot in the 1970s and 80s called “Other Americas” and was borne out of seven years of travel around South America. Salgado says of this exhibition: “The seven years spent making these images were like a trip, seven centuries back in time to observe, unrolling before me, at a slow, utterly sluggish pace, which marks the passage of time in the region, all the flow of different cultures, so similar in their beliefs, losses and sufferings. I haunted the universality of this world apart, traveling from torrid coastal lowlands of Northeastern Brazil to the mountains of Chile, to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico.”
At Pitusa we have a deep resepect and reverence for the rich culture and exquisite communities in all of the countries Salgado visited, and we feel fortunate to live in a time when someone like Salgado is able to travel the world and share with us his unique view of underserved populations and the natural beauty in a region of the world to which we feel so closely linked. Since we do much of our production in Peru, we feel intrinsically linked to this part of the world and have been so fortunate to come to know our production family so intimately. Any artist that sets their eye in a thoughtful way on such a special part of the world must be lauded — and is part of why we love Salgado’s work so much.
To learn more about Sebastião Salgado’s fascinating and varied career, we highly recommend checking out his Ted Talk here.
Like so many highly successful people, he started out doing something entirely different, and didn’t turn to photography until he was in his 30s. He worked for many years as an economist and it is what many credit his particular interest in the wide divisions between the wealthy and the poor, and the impact that globalization has had on the world’s most extremely vulnerable populations. What we find so striking about his work is that he gives a face to these communities where they otherwise may not have a voice, or a way to be seen. He shoots these people with a deep respect for their integrity, he does not fetishize them and therefore manages to create a true portrait of what their particular reality is. If you are in Los Angeles in the coming month, we highly suggest going to the Peter Fetterman Gallery to check out these extraordinary works. If you’re in other cities, you can also view some of Salgado’s works at the following museums’ permanent collections: The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; Glasgow Arts Centre, Scotland, UK. Fundação Cultural de Curitiba, PA, Brazil; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/Main, Germany; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, USA; New York Museum of Modern Art, NY, USA; Chicago Art Institute, MI, USA; Minneapolis Museum of Art, USA; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA, USA; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, USA; Deutsche Börse, Frankfurt/Main, Germany; Museu Historico Abilio Barreto, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA and Centre Pompidou, Paris, France.