Socialist Worker

Sebastião Salgado — depicting people’s dignity, strength and suffering

Issue No. 1956

Sebastião Salgado’s powerful photo of mine workers in Brazil is on display at the exhibition

Sebastião Salgado’s powerful photo of mine workers in Brazil is on display at the exhibition

Sebastião Salgado exhibition
Arden and Anstruther gallery, West Sussex
Until 30 June

A new exhibition of privately owned pieces by the acclaimed photographer Sebastião Salgado at the Arden & Struther gallery in West Sussex offers a rare opportunity to see his work.

Salgado focuses on long term projects that allow him to photograph the realities of life for some of the poorest people in the world.

He says of his technique, “The picture is not made by the photographer, the picture is more good or less good in function of the relationship that you have with the people you photograph.”

But the thing that sets him apart from other photographers is the choices he makes. He says, “You photograph with all your ideology.”

His images go further than regular journalistic photographs. He depicts people as individuals rather than simply “victims”. Many images leave their subjects anonymous, particularly in the Third World where it takes a huge number of “victims” for the Western press to pay attention.

By spending more time with people, Salgado has said, he is able to see their suffering and their strength.

He photographs people — not just their suffering. Salgado was born in Brazil in 1944. He worked as an economist until 1973 when he decided to switch to photography.

As a photojournalist he has covered events such as the wars in Angola and the Western Sahara, the taking of Israeli hostages in Entebbe and the attempted assassination of US president Ronald Reagan. He also started to pursue more personal and in-depth documentary projects.

For seven years (1977-84) he travelled through Latin America, walking to remote mountain villages to photograph the peasant cultures and the cultural resistance of Indians in Mexico and Brazil.

In the mid-1980s he worked with the French aid group Médecins sans Frontières in the drought-stricken Sahel region of Africa. He produced Sahel: Man in Distress, a document on the dignity and endurance of people in deep suffering.

From 1986-92 he focused on making Workers (1993), a documentary shot in 26 countries about manual labour.

This exhibition showcases 60 photos from across a range of his work.

If you are unable to make it to the exhibition, it is definitely worth looking at the Salgado website ( Not only does it have many of his photographs but it also looks at his migrations project — and some of his political and environmental work.

For exhibition go to

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Sat 18 Jun 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1956
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