It was yet another day spent by staring the screen. The information era has taught us to adventure within the frame of a smart phone, travel from one blog to another. Because the internet is (almost) boundless, a daily virtual journey is all we think we need to broaden our daily life. Nonetheless not a single virtual walk can ever take us far enough to reach the tail of Sebastiao Salgado’s. The best-loved photojournalist travelled to go back to the time when Earth was untouched by the upheaval of human civilisation – a time when the order of nature was violent but certain, the wild world uncultivated but beautiful.
Genesis, there is no better word for his eight-year project that captures the natural world at its most ‘pristine’ state as he put it. The primeval beauty of Siberia, Papua New Guinea, Alaska and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, turns into an exhibition, which will travel from London’s Natural History Museum to Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, Rome and Paris; and a new book published by TASCHEN.
“I set out to record those places, animals and peoples least affected by the hand of modern man.”
Of the myriad works Sebastião Salgado has produced in his acclaimed photography career, three long-term projects stand out: Workers (1993), documenting the vanishing way of life of manual labourers across the world; Migrations (2000), a tribute to mass migration driven by hunger, natural disasters, environmental degradation, or demographic pressure; and this new opus, GeneSiS, the result of an epic eight-year expedition to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society – the land and life of a still pristine planet.
On over 30 trips – traveled on foot, by light aircraft, seagoing vessels, canoes, and even balloons, through extreme heat and cold and in sometimes dangerous conditions – Salgado created a collection of images showing us nature, animals, and indigenous peoples in such shocking and intense beauty it takes our breath away. in GeneSiS, one discovers the animal species and volcanoes of the Galápagos; the penguins, sea lions, cormorants, and whales of the South Atlantic; Brazilian alligators and jaguars; and African lions, leopards, and elephants. Through Salgado’s lens, we travel over icebergs in the Antarctic, the volcanoes of Central Africa, the ravines of the Grand Canyon, and the glaciers of Alaska. We encounter the Stone Age Korowai people of West Papua, nomadic Dinka cattle farmers in Sudan, nenets and their reindeer herds in the Arctic Circle, as well as the Mentawai jungle communities on islands west of Sumatra.
The Collector’s edition, designed and edited by Salgado’s wife and partner Lélia Wanick Salgado, features exquisitely reproduced large-format images arranged not by theme or region but rather conceived as a portfolio that takes beholders on a journey around the globe, immersing them in Salgado’s vision of the earth’s mesmerizing scale, order, and beauty.