Date of Lecture: 1993-04
Sebastião Salgado was born in Brazil in 1944 and studied economics in both Brazil and the United States, earning his M.A. in 1968. After completing his Ph.D. coursework at the University of Paris, Salgado decided, in 1973, to pursue photography, first joining Sygma, and then the Gamma agency, before ending up at Magnum Photos in 1979. In 1994, Salgado left Magnum and founded his own agency, Amazonas Images, which exclusively represents Salgado and his work.
After covering news events and traveling extensively for a few years, Salgado began a series of lengthy documentary projects in the tradition of ‘concerned photography.’ From 1977 to 1984, Salgado photographed the plight of Latin Americans in remote villages living traditional rural lives, publishing the images in the book Other Americas (1986). In 1986, he also produced Sahel: L’Homme en Détresse, a book of images Salgado made while working with Doctors Without Borders in famine-stricken Chad, Ethiopia, Mali and the Sudan. Sebastião Salgado then spent six years photographing Workers (1993), focusing on the effect of computers and related technology on the status of the manual labourer in twenty-seven different countries. Migrations and The Children were published in 2000, both books dealing with refugees and displaced persons, photographed in 41 countries.
Salgado has won several awards over the course of his career including the Eugene Smith Award for Humanitarian Photography in 1982 and the ICP Photojournalist of the Year Award in 1986 and 1988. In 1989, Salgado not only won the Josef Sudek Medal, but he was also the recipient of the Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation Award. Salgado’s work has also been the subject of hundreds of solo exhibitions.
In 1987, Sahel was exhibited, along with Other Americas, at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne and then at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil in 1988. The Hasselblad Center in Göteborg, Sweden, organized and circulated a retrospective of his work in 1989. From 1992 to 2001, Salgado’s Workers exhibited at more than 50 museums throughout the world. In 2000, the George Eastman House in Rochester first exhibited Migrations which then traveled to the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and to numerous other locations.