Sebastiao Salgado (born February 8, 1944 - Brazil)
"The picture is not made by the photographer, the picture is more good or less good in function of the relationship you have with the people you photograph.... If you arrive in a place in a rather brutal way, too fast and with no respect for your subject, you will end up with cold and distant images. But if you approach your subject in a refined way, and attempt to understand their life, and live with them for a while, your images will be of a different quality".
Trained economist, he became social documentary photographer and photojournalist, photographing the human struggle, as: gold miners in Brazil, Vietnamese refugees, for over 3 decades.
He published books like: Other Americas, The Children, Workers and Migrations, and won awards, like: Photojournalist of the year and Hasselblad Award.
He's most recent project is Genesis.
"I did in the beginning a bit of everything to start with: sports, nudes, landscape and portraits... One day, I started doing social photography and reportage." It all started with the story in Niger, Africa, visiting a friend. The story was published in many magazines, both in France and Internationally. Immediately after that, he got a commission from the World Council of Churches to do a reportage about the famine in Ethiopia.
Sebastiao started working for Sigma, then for Gamma, and then, in '79 he went to Magnum.
"At first, I started doing reportages for magazines. I spent years photographing the end of an era and it turned into a book. It was a concept, but it also became my way of life and that's how I tend to work." For each project he worked, Sebastiao wrote a concept and proposal. He put his idea into words into a coherent way, so that editors could get an idea of what he's trying to do. "If you go to magazines with concrete ideas, a point of view, information and a good set of pictures, they'll be very happy to work with you".
Sebastiao Salgado also worked with a number of different charities over the years: French Organisation, The Catholic Committee against famine and for Development, Christian Aid in the UK, and with Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF). He made a deal with Magnum: that for every photograph published, a percentage of the sales would go to the Organisations. He is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.
As equipment, Sebastiao always used a Leica 35 mm, a medium format Pentax 645 ( for better quality negatives ).
Sebastiao took to reforest 1500 acres of land that he own in Brazil with the original species of the Atlantic Forest. They are planting one million trees and he also founded the Instituto Terra, to provide practical environmental education to municipal officials, teachers, formers and students.
"My aim is to find the places on earth, which have not yet been destroyed by men, which we have to preserve and maintain, if we want to ensure survival on this earth."