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Sebastião Salgado: GENESIS

Sebastião Salgado: GENESIS

Earth eternal: A photographic homage to our planet in its natural state
 

“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.

Raised on a farm in Brazil, Salgado possessed a deep love and respect for nature; he was also particularly sensitive to the ways in which human beings are affected by their often devastating socio-economic conditions. Of the myriad works Salgado has produced in his acclaimed career, three long-term projects stand out: Workers (1993), documenting the vanishing way of life of manual laborers across the world, Migrations (2000), a tribute to mass migration driven by hunger, natural disasters, environmental degradation and demographic pressure, and this new opus, GENESIS, the result of an epic eight-year expedition to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society—the land and life of a still-pristine planet. “Some 46% of the planet is still as it was in the time of genesis,” Salgado reminds us. “We must preserve what exists.” The GENESIS project, along with the Salgados’ Instituto Terra, are dedicated to showing the beauty of our planet, reversing the damage done to it, and preserving it for the future.

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.

What does one discover in GENESIS? The animal species and volcanoes of the Galápagos; penguins, sea lions, cormorants, and whales of the Antarctic and South Atlantic; Brazilian alligators and jaguars; African lions, leopards, and elephants; the isolated Zo’é tribe deep in the Amazon jungle; the Stone Age Korowai people of West Papua; nomadic Dinka cattle farmers in Sudan; Nenet nomads and their reindeer herds in the Arctic Circle; Mentawai jungle communities on islands west of Sumatra; the icebergs of the Antarctic; the volcanoes of Central Africa and the Kamchatka Peninsula; Saharan deserts; the Negro and Juruá rivers in the Amazon; the ravines of the Grand Canyon; the glaciers of Alaska… and beyond. Having dedicated so much time, energy, and passion to the making of this work, Salgado likens GENESIS to “my love letter to the planet.”

Whereas the limited Collector’s Edition is conceived like a large-format portfolio that meanders across the planet, this unlimited book presents a selection of photographs arranged in five chapters geographically: Planet South, Sanctuaries, Africa, Northern Spaces, Amazonia and Pantanal. Each in its own way, this book and the Collector’s edition—both edited and designed by Lélia Wanick Salgado—pay homage to Salgado’s triumphant and unparalleled GENESIS project.

List Price: $ 69.99

Price: $ 39.36

3 Responses to Sebastião Salgado: GENESIS

  • Mason Dixon Photography says:
    251 of 263 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Unimaginably beautiful art, utterly defiled by the publisher., November 17, 2013
    By 
    Mason Dixon Photography (Gettysburg, PA) –
    Verified Purchase(https://www.amazon.com/gp/community-help/amazon-verified-purchase/151-1209951-4353222', ‘AmazonHelp’, ‘width=400,height=500,resizable=1,scrollbars=1,toolbar=0,status=1′);return false; “>What’s this?)
    This review is from: Sebastião Salgado: GENESIS (Hardcover)
    Make no mistake – the book quality is good, and the images are nothing short of amazing. Sebastiao Salgado is one of the finest living photographers, and his work is enough to prompt other photographers to feel both inspired and deeply envious. However, this book has one fatal flaw:

    Every single large image is presented as a 2 page spread, with a page division running right down the middle! This is nothing short of sacrilegious! When one purchases a book featuring the work of a great artist, one does NOT want distractions from, or defacement of, that work. This could easily have been avoided by producing the book in horizontal (landscape) format instead of the vertical (portrait) format the publisher chose… and for me, it utterly ruins my enjoyment of Salgado’s incomparable work.

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  • Chris Shaw says:
    40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great, Important, Beautiful, June 22, 2013
    By 
    Chris Shaw (Hermosa Beach, CA USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Verified Purchase(https://www.amazon.com/gp/community-help/amazon-verified-purchase/151-1209951-4353222', ‘AmazonHelp’, ‘width=400,height=500,resizable=1,scrollbars=1,toolbar=0,status=1′);return false; “>What’s this?)
    This review is from: Sebastião Salgado: GENESIS (Hardcover)
    This is a large book, a great book, an important book, a beautiful book. Its avowed purpose is to instill a love of our planet through the medium of magnificent black and white photographs of the world’s untamed places, animals, and people, as they were or may have been in the time before history. The artist, Sebastiao Salgado, is a master photographer–a master landscape photographer, a master nature photographer, a master people photographer, and a master aerial photographer. Each of the hundreds of photographs magnificently printed in this book is a masterpiece, even those few printed in smaller than full-page format. There isn’t a weak image in the lot. The pictures of unfamiliar places, animals, and people are no less than awe-inspiring. The pictures of more familiar places and animals, such as Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley, and lions, penguins and apes, stand favorable comparison with the very best black and white photographs of the same subjects by other master photographers.

    The book’s layout gives respectful white space to the images, and while there are some larger images that span double-page spreads, I somehow didn’t find this as annoying as I often do.

    This book is also a great bargain. Go buy it!

    As to its purpose, the book shows us the beauty of a fragile world we humans are on a fast track to destroying, but don’t expect it to raise your commitment to alleviating global warming, our world’s greatest existential peril. That’s too much to expect of any book of photographs in this day and age of media saturation. Hopefully, some of the book’s proceeds will help Salgado and his wife in their work of restoring a small piece of the Brazilian rain forest.

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  • DBuddha says:
    47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Too Many Split Images, October 11, 2013
    By 
    DBuddha
    This review is from: Sebastião Salgado: GENESIS (Hardcover)
    This borders on being a great book. Most of Salgado’s images, as usual, are fantastic, visceral, and informative. Yet I fail to understand why so many publishers destroy otherwise beautiful photographs by doing a two-page spread that creates a divisive, distracting and annoying seam down the middle. And why do significant photographers such as Salgado allow this to occur? As attested to by many of the comments here, most viewers whom appreciate this sort of photography would rather view slightly smaller, yet undivided images.

    Otherwise, beautiful book.

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