UNICEF Special Representative Sebastião Salgado
photographer Sebastião Salgado is one of the most respected photojournalists
working today. Appointed a UNICEF Special Representative on 3 April
2001, he has dedicated himself to chronicling the lives of the world's
dispossessed, a work that has filled ten books and many exhibitions
and for which he has won numerous awards in Europe and in the Americas.
"I hope that the person who visits my exhibitions, and the person
who comes out, are not quite the same," says Mr. Salgado. "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."
Educated as an economist, Mr. Salgado, 57, began his photography
career in 1973. His first book, Other Americas, about the
poor in Latin America, was published in 1986. This was followed
by Sahel: Man in Distress (also published in 1986), the result
of a 15 month long collaboration with Medecins San Frontières covering
the drought in northern Africa. From 1986 to 1992 he documented
manual labour world-wide, resulting in a book and exhibition called
Workers, a monumental undertaking that confirmed his reputation
as a photo documentarian of the first order. From 1993 to 1999,
he turned his attention to the global phenomenon of mass displacement
of people, resulting in the internationally acclaimed books Migrations
and The Children published in 2000.
In the introduction to Migrations, he wrote, "More than
ever, I feel that the human race is one. There are differences of
colour, language, culture and opportunities, but people's feelings
and reactions are alike. People flee wars to escape death, they
migrate to improve their fortunes, they build new lives in foreign
lands, they adapt to extreme hardship…."
Working entirely in a black-and-white format, Mr. Salgado's respect
for his subjects and his determination to draw out the larger meaning
of what is happening to them, has created an imagery that testifies
to the fundamental dignity of all humanity while simultaneously
protesting its violation by war, poverty and other injustices.
Over the years Mr. Salgado has collaborated generously with international
humanitarian organizations including UNICEF, the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health
Organization (WHO), Medecins Sans Frontières and Amnesty International.
With his wife, Lélia Wanick Salgado, he is presently supporting
a reforestation and community revitalization project in the Brazilian
state of Minas Gerais.
In September 2000, supported by the United Nations and UNICEF,
Mr. Salgado exhibited 90 portraits of displaced children taken from
his book The Children exhibited at UN Headquarters in New
York. These stunning photographs bear solemn witness to the 30 million
people throughout the world, mostly children and women, who are
without a permanent home. In other collaborations with UNICEF, Mr.
Salgado has donated reproduction rights to several of his photographs
to support the Global Movement for Children and to illustrate a
book by Mozambique's Graça Machel, updating her 1996 report as United
Nations Special Representative on the Impact of Armed Conflict on
Children. Presently, in a joint project with the Global Polio Eradication
Initiative, he is documenting the global campaign to eradicate this
Mr. Salgado lives in Paris, France, with his family. His wife,
Lélia Wanick Salgado, directs their company, Amazonas Images, and
has designed his major books and exhibitions.