Sebastião Salgado: Genesis – National History Museum, August 2013

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis (NMM temporary exhibition), August 2013

There was a lot to see, and we took our time. This was an exhibition to savour. Sebastião Salgado’s photographs are enticing and often thought-provoking.

I remember reading a quote from Salgado about how the survival of ancient tribes and animals depends on their isolation.

A few months ago, I came across a story which both shocked and saddened me. An uncontacted isolated tribe in Peru made contact to ‘ask for food‘. It is suggested this is a result of logging and urban development.

I spend a lot of time on the road. I am aware of the implications my interactions with people, wildlife and places may have. I aim to tread sensitively and leave only footprints. I may not always succeed. I do not know what happens to a person after we have exchanged a few words. I have travelled to remote regions of the world where not many ‘tourists’ go to… and in some cases, I have been the first foreigner some people have ever met or spoken with. The responsibility is huge. And so are the possibilities of misunderstandings. I have spent the last few weeks in South Georgia. We were instructed to keep our distances from the wildlife, unless they felt like coming to have a look at us. Yet, this simple message was often ignored by some of my fellow passengers.

Undeniably, the world is changing. But it shouldn’t change because of us and our actions. And this is why social documentary photographers, like Sebastião Salgado, are important.

He shows us daily scenes from the life of remote tribes such as the Nenets of the Yamal peninsula (Siberia) or wild remote scenery, which we need to protect.

I was blown away by his image of Bighorn Creek and that of the lower part of the Kaskawulsh Glacier, both in the Kluane National Park, Canada. Yes, of course, I’d love to go and see these places but the impact of tourism and modern life need to be carefully monitored and evaluated.

Salgado says, “We hold the key to humanity’s future, but to make that future we have to understand the present.”

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I'm an inquisitive being. Everything is an adventure: art, architecture, colours, food, patterns, people... and travel! And I love elephants. That's what I mostly write about.
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