Sebastião Salgado captures the dignity of the dispossessed through large-scale, long-term projects.

Why you should listen

A gold miner in Serra Pelada, Brazil; a Siberian Nenet tribe that lives in -35°C temperatures; a Namibian gemsbok antelope. These are just a few of the subjects from Sebastião Salgado’s immense collection of work devoted to the world’s most dispossessed and unknown.

Brazilian-born Salgado, who shoots only using Kodak film, is known for his incredibly long-term projects, which require extensive travel and extreme lifestyle changes. Workers took seven years to complete and contained images of manual laborers from 26 countries, while Migrations took six years in 43 different countries on all seven continents. Most recently Salgado completed Genesis, an ambitious eight-year project that spanned 30 trips to the world’s most pristine territories, land untouched by technology and modern life. Among Salgado’s many travels for Genesis was a two-month hike through Ethiopia, spanning 500 miles with 18 pack donkeys and their riders. In the words of Brett Abbott, a Getty Museum curator, Salgado’s approach can only be described as “epic.”

What others say

“Other photojournalists go in and out for a day. Sebastião goes and lives with his subjects for weeks before he even takes a picture.” — Peter Fetterman, in The New York Times

Sebastião Salgado’s TED talks

Sebastião Salgado on the TED Blog
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Ideas

Sebastião Salgado: A gallery of spectacular photographs

May 1, 2013

Ask photojournalists to name a peer they admire, and Sebastião Salgado’s name is sure to crop up. The Brazilian is renowned for the long-term projects he undertakes, devoting years at a time to documenting the story of a particular people or the evolution of a certain place. As he describes in the talk he gave […]

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Art

The language of photography: Q&A with Sebastião Salgado

May 1, 2013

I’ll never forget the first images of Sebastião Salgado’s that I ever saw. At the time, I was just getting into photography, and his images of the mines of Serra Pelada struck me as otherworldly, possessing a power that I had never seen in a photo before (or, if I’m honest, since). In the twenty […]

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Science

Why we must rebuild our forests: Sebastião Salgado at TED2013

February 26, 2013

Sebastião Salgado has worked as a professional photographer since 1973. And he arrives on the TED stage with extraordinary gentleness and humility. He doesn’t think everyone is necessarily familiar with his work, so he starts by showing some of his incredible pictures, and we watch in silence. The images make for powerful, often difficult viewing. It’s clear that […]

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Quotes from Sebastião Salgado

I wished to photograph the other animals … to photograph us, but us from the beginning, the time we lived in equilibrium with nature.
Sebastião Salgado
TED2013 • 929K views May 2013
Inspiring, Beautiful
[I want my photography] to create a discussion about what we have that is pristine on the planet, and what we must hold on this planet if we want to live.
Sebastião Salgado
TED2013 • 929K views May 2013
Inspiring, Beautiful