Sebastião Salgado: Genesis


After photographing brutality and violence across the globe, Sebastião Salgado’s most recent photo-essay, Genesis, marked a rekindling of faith in the partnership between humanity and nature, capturing the few remaining environments untouched by human hands. Completed in 2013, the eight-year project is awesome in the truest sense of the word. Genesis is about returning to origins – finding nature in its pure, pristine state.

The series, which Salgado has called a “love letter to the planet”, consists of a vast array of images of the natural world at its most dramatic. It takes us on a journey to the remotest regions of the planet, and took the photographer to over thirty countries including Siberia, Papua New Guinea, Alaska and The Galápagos. Salgado travelled to Antarctica on a 120ft icebreaking yacht to photograph the continent. He visited Deception Island – a dramatic, almost primeval landscape that is home to one of the world’s largest colonies of penguins, and the site of several active volcanoes.

Of the project, Salgado has said: “So many times I’ve photographed stories that show the degradation of the planet. I had one idea to go and photograph the factories that were polluting, and to see all the deposits of garbage. But, in the end, I thought the only way to give us an incentives, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet to see that innocence.” Salgado has described, Genesis as a “mosaic presented by nature itself,” but it is not just a romantic contemplation of the sublime, instead, it opens up a discussion about what we have done to the planet and what we must now do to protect it.

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