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Posted May 2, 2013

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Ted Talks

Sebastião Salgado: The silent drama of photography

Economics PhD Sebastião Salgado only took up photography in his 30s, but the discipline became an obsession. His years-long projects beautifully capture the human side of a global story that all too often involves death, destruction or decay. Here, he tells a deeply personal story of the craft that nearly killed him, and shows breathtaking images from his latest work, Genesis, which documents the world's forgotten people and places.

Sebastião Salgado captures the dignity of the dispossessed through large-scale, long-term projects.

A gold miner in Serra Pelada, Brazil; a Siberian Nenet tribe that lives in -35°C temperatures; a Namibian gemsbok antelope. These are just a few of the subjects from Sebastião Salgado’s immense collection of work devoted to the world’s most dispossessed and unknown.

Brazilian-born Salgado, who shoots only using Kodak film, is known for his incredibly long-term projects, which require extensive travel and extreme lifestyle changes. Workers took seven years to complete and contained images of manual laborers from 26 countries, while Migrations took six years in 43 different countries on all seven continents. Most recently Salgado completed Genesis, an ambitious eight-year project that spanned 30 trips to the world’s most pristine territories, land untouched by technology and modern life. Among Salgado’s many travels for Genesis was a two-month hike through Ethiopia, spanning 500 miles with 18 pack donkeys and their riders. In the words of Brett Abbott, a Getty Museum curator, Salgado’s approach can only be described as “epic.”

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