The Salt of the Earth is a documentary on legendary Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. In Italy it was released in October and due to its success they are still showing it in a few cinemas (the ones I like to call “intellectually sophisticated”). So luckily I still got the chance to see it – my parents have been telling me about it for the last two months! I must be honest and confess my ignorance on the subject – I had no clue who this “phenomenal photographer” named Salgado was and never even heard of him until my mum told me about him. Later, I remembered myself of a photograph I saw in the photography studio of LCC when I went for an induction. Although it was just a scruffy small poster, the black and white photo immediately caught my attention.
The movie takes the spectator through a journey of space and time, it follows Salgado’s personal and professional development, an insight in the life of a truly admirable and intriguing character. But The Salt of the Earth goes even beyond this, in fact it gives you a gaze over our planet and humankind through the eyes of someone who has seen and experienced so much more than most of us, and for this I envy him. While we are introduced to Salgado’s major collections (Latin America, Sahel, Workers, Migrations and Genesis ) by iconic pictures, Salgado tells us the story behind every picture and explains what we see as well as his personal experiences and what he encountered while he travelled to complete these projects (he travelled around 26 countries from the 80’s until today).
The film was definitely worth seeing and I have to thank my parents for having drawn my attention to it. It is different to what we expect when we normally go to the cinema and the life of this man is so inspiring and his images astonishing and mesmerising.
If you want to know more about the movie and /or Salgado here are some links:
Here you can watch the trailer of the documentary, which will be released in the UK in April 2015.
Here is a review of the film by The Guardian.
Here is another article published by the Guardian about Salgado working in Kuwait in the 90’s (where he took the images I posted of the burning oil wells).
And last but not least: Here is a Ted Talk with Salgado where he talks about his and his wife’s project of replanting the forest in Brazil. This project is tremendous (obviously the film talks about this too) and really something we should think of and take as an example if we want to help our planet instead of destroying it. More info on Salgado’s project and Instituto Terra here.