The little autobiographic book ‘From my Land to the Planet’ by the celebrated photographer Sebastião Salgado is a highly personal and hugely valuable memoir shedding light on Salgado’s life, influences, projects and publications. Starting with the description of his father’s farm in Brazil, where he grew up; his education as an economist at an elite school in Brazil; his work with the International Coffee Organization; his work on the refugee crisis; the projects focused on people at work; his African travels, this book gives a unique understanding of the path that Salgado took to become a master photographer. Incredibly touching are the stories of how Salgado met his wife and life-long companion Leila, who edited all his books, the story of the emigration to France under threat from persecution in Brazil, the story of the first purchase of a 35mm Pentax with a 50mm lens to which a 24mm and a 200mm were later added. The book’s obvious high point is a discussion of the ‘Genesis’ project Salgado worked on for 8 years to complete, which resulted in a glorious album and a series of exhibitions all over the world, one of which I was fortunate to see in London. It that was not enough, the book discusses an environmental restoration project Salgado has undertaken on his land in Brazil reconstructing and effectively restoring the Atlantic Forest ecosystem. Full of gentle humour, kindness and passion for people and the environment, this book offers an insight into the mind of one of the greatest photographers of our time. In other words, a true gem.
Salgado S. (2014) From my Land to the Planet, Roma: Contrasto: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sebasti%C3%A3o-Salgado-My-Land-Planet/dp/8869655377/
(c) Image by Sebastião Salgado