Sebastião Salgado, a Brazilian, is one of the most respected photojournalists working today. Committed to chronicling the lives of the world’s dispossessed, his work has been published in innumerable magazines and newspapers, as well as in more than 10 books, many exhibitions and on distinguished web sites. Mr. Salgado has won numerous awards in Europe, in Asia and in the Americas in recognition of his achievements and, on 3 April 2001, was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
"I hope that the person who visits my exhibitions, and the person who comes out, are not quite the same," he says. "I believe that the average person can help a lot, not by giving material goods but by participating, by being part of the discussion, by being truly concerned about what is going on in the world."
Years of generous collaboration
Salgado has collaborated generously with international humanitarian organizations throughout his career. These include UNICEF, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization (WHO), Médecins Sans Frontières and Amnesty International.
Collaborations include his exhibition in 2000 of 90 portraits of displaced children, from around the world, at UN Headquarters in New York. The following year, Mr. Salgado undertook a documentation of the global campaign to eradicate polio, working with UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Publication of this story in major US and European magazines has given unprecedented exposure to the campaign and sparked a surge in public donations. A web site – www.endofpolio.org – and a touring exhibition, as well as the forthcoming book, The End of Polio, to be released in October 2003, all feature his images, continuing to raise the profile of this campaign and to assist in closing the remaining funding shortfall.
|Sebastiao Salgado (right) photographs a health worker administering a dose of oral polio vaccine to a toddler. Pakistan, 2001.|
Mr. Salgado has also donated reproduction rights to several of his photographs for UNICEF-supported initiatives, including a poster series promoting the 2002 United Nations Special Session on Children and the Global Movement for Children and Graça Machel’s The Impact of War on Children, a book updating Machel's landmark 1996 report as United Nations Special Representative on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.
Dignity and protest
Educated as an economist, Sebastião Salgado began photographing in 1973. His first book, Other Americas, about the poor in Latin America, was published in 1986. This was followed in the same year by Sahel: Man in Distress, the result of a 15-month collaboration with Médecins San Frontières covering the drought in northern Africa.
From 1986 to 1992 he documented manual labour worldwide, a monumental undertaking that led to the book and exhibition, Workers. Between 1993 and 1999, he turned his attention to the mass displacement of people, resulting in the 2000 publication of the internationally acclaimed books Migrations and The Children.
Salgado’s respect for his subjects and his determination to draw out the larger meaning of what is happening to them have created an imagery that testifies to human dignity while simultaneously protesting its violation by war, poverty and other injustices.
With his wife, Lélia Wanick Salgado, who is the director of his company and the designer and curator of many of his books and exhibitions, he is currently also creating a reforestation and community revitalization project in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.