by Simone Dutra
This week I stumbled in a article about Sebastiao Salgado’s advise to young photographers.
Funny that I have never heard about Salgado until I became a student at AAU about three years ago. Funny because, like him, I am from Brazil too. And we usually know about famous people from our country.
Anyway, from that time on Salgado’s work is always under my radar. I find it just so spectacular his capacity to show beautiful in the brutal. It is still hard for me to classify his work. Documentary ? Photojournalist ? Fine Art ? Salgado himself refuses to be called one or another. He just says that Photography is his life.
“Sebastião Salgado went to 40 countries in six years to be among the world’s migrants and refugees so that he could tell visual stories of their difficult journeys as they leave their homes for places and lives unknown to them. “ Many were going through the worst periods of their lives.””
Here is one image example of what I mentioned about the Beautiful in the brutal. From the series Migration.
Back to the advices. “Just go out there and shoot” or “Study the masters of photography” or “Practice, practice, practice”. That is what we all, as photographers, have already heard at least ten times, right ? Yes, they are important advices and we all should follow them. But Salgadogives a much deeper advice :
“If you’re young and have the time, go and study. Study anthropology, sociology, economy, geopolitics. Study so that you’re actually able to understand what you’re photographing. What you can photograph and what you should photograph.”
This is the kind of advice that, for me at least, needs to be decanted. The more you read it, the more you are able to really understand and absorb it. We all need to understand what we are photographing.
If I admired him before, I admire him even more now.