Sight of Grace
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About Sebastião Salgado

Sebastião Salgado has authored numerous books including An Uncertain Grace the book that this site focuses on.   

Salgado began his work as a photographer in Brazil and began to be known worldwide in 1979 when a photo editor for the New York Times needed some photographs taken of a prominent doctor in Brazil.  The deadline for the story did not allow time for a New York Times photographer to get to Brazil so the editor called around trying to find a photographer who would be able to do this job and heard about Salgado.  Salgado took the pictures for the paper and "It was in fact the most broadly covered feature assignment that I had ever seen as a picture editor."   Salgado achieved prominence in 1980 when he was photographing United States President Ronald Reagan.  Salgado was one of the few photographers present when the president and his press secretary were shot.  While Salgado did not quite understand exactly what was happening he instinctively photographed the wounded president.  These photographs were published all over the world.

During 1984-85 he photographed  people suffering from famine in the Sahel region of Africa.  You may be saying "so what? Sebastião was lucky; he was at the right place at the right time."  However, what makes Salgado different from other photographers is he does not only take pictures of terrible problems all around the world he gets to know the people that he is photographing, he learns about their problems and he tries to help.   According to Salgado "The picture is not made by the photographer, the picture is more good or less good in function of the relationship that you have with the people you photograph."  In Sahel he traveled by bus rather than car so that he blended in better than the photographers who came in cars and took a few pictures and left.  This allowed him to really see what was happening rather than just take a couple of cursory photos and leave.

Salgado currently resides with his family in Paris, a major center for photojournalism.  He continues to photograph situations and people as they truly are showing the resilience of the human spirit.

Information found in An Uncertain Grace by Sebastião Salgado pages 143 to 157.