Sebastiao Salgado Genesis
Being a major artistic proponent of the use of colour, there is nothing I enjoy quite so much as gazing at a gallery full of vibrant paintings, each popping out from the white walls of an exhibition. However there are times in life when there is nothing quite so stunning as the use of black and white to suffuse a work with an atmosphere which could never be obtained through the distractions of colour. And of all the monochrome coloured exhibitions I have seen in my time, none has been quite so successful in black and white as the latest international phenomenon from Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado, Genesis.
Inspired by Salgado’s horror at seeing his own homeland gradually deforested, its naturally lush habitats cleared away in the process of urbanisation, the Genesis project was conceived from an ambition to capture images of some of the most unspoilt and isolated spots on the planet, serving as a reminder of what rare beauty nature alone can create, and what gems of the natural world are continuously threatened by the activity of man. In the course of bringing together such images, Salgado embarked on an inspirational 8 year journey of discovery which took him on some 32 trips to the most remote places where he founds landscapes, marine environments, ecosystems and even indigenous human communities which have remained relatively untouched and unseen by the majority of humankind.
The result is an exhibition of some of the most stunning photographic landscapes I have ever witnessed. Scenes which appear so biblical and mammoth in their scale that you would swear they were the result of digital manipulation. But these captures are as far from digital as it is possible to get – the pure genius of nature captured by an equally brilliant photographer. And of course, as the exhibition intended, they are deeply thought provoking too. For these environments must not just be conserved in photos, but also in reality, for the sake of us all.
Sebastiao Salgado, Genesis is currently showing at the Caixa Forum in Palma de Mallorca, and the series is also available in large folios and books from Taschen.
All photographs are the copyright of Sebastiao Salgado and Amazonas Images