Documentary To Do

Sebastião Salgado

Sebastião Salgado (born 1944) was educated as an economist and produced his first book in
1973 about the poor of Latin America. Other Americas was in the true tradition of documentary.
In one interview he commented, “It’s not my intention to give people guilty consciences, just to
make them think.” Subsequent books, including Workers: An Archaeology of the Industrial Age
(1993) and Migrations (2000), have received worldwide recognition. The images are without
doubt factual – they are not enhanced or done in a newsworthy manner. Yet at the same
time they are ‘sensational’ – mud-soaked prospectors in Brazil living and working in hellish
conditions, hoping to find a nugget of gold in the bucket of earth they carry up huge rickety
ladders, or the suffering of ordinary people fleeing war and famine in Exodus.
For a discussion about the photographer as activist, visit: