"The Salt of the Earth": Terrific Documentary on Photographer Sebastião Salgado

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PHOTO BY SEBASTIÃO SALGADO
  • Photo by Sebastião Salgado

I don't normally recommend films, but I'll make an exception here. The Salt of the Earth, a documentary about photographer Sebastião Salgado playing at The Loft, is a terrific film for anyone interested in photography and social justice—and photography used as a tool for social justice. For my money, Salgado, born in Brazil and trained as an economist, is the foremost living black and white photographer. He's turned his camera on the teeming gold mines of Brazil (pictured above), famines and immigrant camps in Africa, oil fires in Kuwait and, most recently, the Earth in an almost primal state. His photos have brought worldwide awareness to social and economic problems. They're powerful, often painful, and stunningly beautiful.

The documentary is directed by Wim Wenders, a first rate director, and Salgado's son Juliano. The images alone are worth the price of admission (you can see a small selection in the gallery on the film's website), and the story of Salgado's evolution as a photographer and a human being, as well as the stories of the places he photographed, are moving and informative.

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