Two Photo books by Sebastião Salgado

“At that horrific time, I photographed it with all my heart. I thought the whole world needed to know. This is our world, we have to assume responsibility for it.”


Sebastião Salgado. Exodus

It has been almost a generation since Sebastião Salgado first published Exodus but the story it tells, of fraught human movement around the globe, has changed little in 16 years. The push and pull factors may shift, the nexus of conflict relocates from Rwanda to Syria, but the people who leave their homes tell the same tale: deprivation, hardship, and glimmers of hope, plotted along a journey of great psychological, as well as physical, toil.

Salgado spent six years with migrant peoples, visiting more than 35 countries to document displacement on the road, in camps, and in overcrowded city slums where new arrivals often end up. His project includes Latin Americans entering the United States, Jews leaving the former Soviet Union, Kosovars fleeing into Albania, the Hutu refugees of Rwanda, as well as the first “boat people” of Arabs and sub-Saharan Africans trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean sea. His images feature those who know where they are going and those who are simply in flight, relieved to be alive and uninjured enough to run. The faces he meets present dignity and compassion in the most bitter of circumstances, but also the many ravaged marks of violence, hatred, and greed.

With his particular eye for detail and motion, Salgado captures the heart-stopping moments of migratory movement, as much as the mass flux. There are laden trucks, crowded boats, and camps stretched out to a clouded horizon, and then there is the small, bandaged leg; the fingerprint on a page; the interview with a border guard; the bundle and baby clutched to a mother’s breast. Insisting on the scale of the migrant phenomenon, Salgado also asserts, with characteristic humanism, the personal story within the overwhelming numbers. Against the indistinct faces of televised footage or the crowds caught beneath a newspaper headline, what we find here are portraits of individual identities, even in the abyss of a lost land, home, and, often, loved ones.

At the same time, Salgado also declares the commonality of the migrant situation as a shared, global experience. He summons his viewers not simply as spectators of the refugee and exile suffering, but as actors in the social, political, economic, and environmental shifts which contribute to the migratory phenomenon. As the boats bobbing up on the Greek and Italian coastline bring migration home to Europe like no mass movement since the Second World War, Exodus cries out not only for our heightened awareness but also for responsibility and engagement. In face of the scarred bodies, the hundreds of bare feet on hot tarmac, our imperative is not to look on in compassion, but, in Salgado’s own words, to temper our behaviors in a “new regimen of coexistence.”

Sebastião Salgado. Exodus
Sebastião Salgado, Lélia Wanick Salgado
Hardcover with booklet
24.8 x 33 cm
432 pages
Edition: English
$ 69.99

For more information
Exodus


Sebastião Salgado. Children

In every crisis situation, children are the greatest victims. Physically weak, they are often the first to succumb to hunger, disease, and dehydration. Innocent to the workings and failings of the world, they are unable to understand why there is danger, why there are people who want to hurt them, or why they must leave, perhaps quite suddenly, and abandon their schools, their friends, and their home.

In this companion series to Exodus, Sebastião Salgado presents 90 portraits of the youngest exiles, migrants, and refugees. His subjects are from different countries, victims to different crises, but they are all on the move, and all under the age of 15. Through his extensive refugee project, what struck Salgado about these boys and girls was not only the implicit innocence in their suffering but also their radiant reserves of energy and enthusiasm, even in the most miserable of circumstances. From roadside refuges in Angola and Burundi to city slums in Brazil and sprawling camps in Lebanon and Iraq, the children remained children: they were quick to laugh as much as to cry, they played soccer, splashed in dirty water, got up to mischief with friends, and were typically ecstatic at the prospect of being photographed.

For Salgado, the exuberance presented a curious paradox. How can a smiling child represent circumstances of deprivation and despair? What he noticed, though, was that when he asked the children to line up, and took their portraits one by one, the group giddiness would fade. Face to face with his camera, each child would become much more serious. They would look at him not as part of a noisy crowd, but as an individual. Their poses would become earnest. They looked into the lens with a sudden intensity, as if abruptly taking stock of themselves and their situation. And in the expression of their eyes, or the nervous fidget of small hands, or the way frayed clothes hung off painfully thin frames, Salgado found he had a refugee portfolio that deserved a forum of its own.

The photographs do not try to make a statement about their subjects’ feelings, or to spell out the particulars of their health, educational, and housing deficits. Rather, the collection allows 90 children to look out at the viewer with all the candor of youth and all the uncertainty of their future. Beautiful, proud, pensive, and sad, they stand before the camera for a moment in their lives, but ask questions that haunt for years to come. Will they remain in exile? Will they always know an enemy? Will they grow up to forgive or seek revenge? Will they grow up at all?

Sebastião Salgado. Children
Sebastião Salgado, Lélia Wanick Salgado
Hardcover,
24.8 x 33 cm,
124 pages
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
US$ 49.99

For more information
Children

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