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Movie recommendation: “The Salt of the Earth”


“The Salt of the Earth”

A movie by Wim Wenders about Sebastião Salgado

When I first heard that Wim Wenders would do a documentary movie about Sebastião Salgado I felt ambiguous. On the one hand I was keen to see a movie about this extraordinary photographer. On the other hand I was skeptical if Wim Wenders would be the right director to do this …

To cut it short: he was. Absolutely. I think it is a fantastic movie and absolutely recommendable! I almost tend to say this movie is ‚a must see‘ for people who are seriously interested in travel and documentary photography.

But be prepared: Sebastião Salgado is not a photographer who gained his acknowledgement for user-friendly and docile photography. The first part of his life was dominated by documenting social and political faults, grievance and drawbacks. He became famous in particular with a photographic coverage of the Brasilia goldmine “Serra Pelada” (there is also a fantastic photo book available). His images of the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda and in Congo, or the famine in the Sahel struck a chord and made your skin crawl. What Salgado had seen and photographed was difficult to digest, and eventually lead to health decline and personal severe illness for himself.

One part of his psychological healing was his new project “Genesis”, which he had started in 2004  and continued for the following 9 years. Salgado’s focus here was to show how beautiful our earth actually still is. So he traveled to the most remote parts of the world to photograph untouched landscapes and their flora and fauna. The results are stunning and touching, pictures which hopefully remind us to protect this planet and it’s beauty.

The movie by Wim Wenders and Salgado’s son Juliano Ribeiro shows us the life path of a brilliant photographer, and sometimes we are allowed to ‚look over his shoulder‘ while he is at work. (Obviously I would be keen to see even more of that 😉 Wim Wenders keeps modest in the back and mainly lets the Master (Salgado) himself do the talking.


The DVD will be released on September 14th.


Travel Photography, Sebastião Salgado, The Salt of the Erath

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