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Salgado at the World Social Forum in 2003
February 8, 1944
Aimorés, Minas Gerais, Brazil
He has traveled in over 100 countries for his photographic projects. Most of these have appeared in numerous press publications and books. Touring exhibitions of this work have been presented throughout the world. Longtime gallery director Hal Gould considers Salgado to be the most important photographer of the early 21st century..
Salgado is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. He was awarded Foreign Honorary Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992 and was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in 1993.
Salgado was born on February 8, 1944 in Aimorés, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. After a somewhat itinerant childhood, Salgado initially trained as an economist, earning a master’s degree in economics from the University of São Paulo in Brazil. He began work as an economist for the International Coffee Organization, often traveling to Africa on missions for the World Bank, when he first started seriously taking photographs. He chose to abandon a career as an economist and switched to photography in 1973, working initially on news assignments before veering more towards documentary-type work. Salgado initially worked with the photo agency Sygma and the Paris-based Gamma, but in 1979, he joined the international cooperative of photographers Magnum Photos. He left Magnum in 1994 and with his wife Lélia Wanick Salgado formed his own agency, Amazonas Images, in Paris, to represent his work. He is particularly noted for his social documentary photography of workers in less developed nations. They reside in Paris.
Salgado works on long term, self-assigned projects many of which have been published as books: The Other Americas, Sahel, Workers, Migrations and Genesis. The latter three are mammoth collections with hundreds of images each from all around the world. His most famous pictures are of a gold mine in Brazil called Serra Pelada.
Between 2004 and 2011, Salgado worked on "Genesis," aiming at the presentation of the unblemished faces of nature and humanity. It consists of a series of photographs of landscapes and wildlife, as well as of human communities that continue to live in accordance with their ancestral traditions and cultures. This body of work is conceived as a potential path to humanity’s rediscovery of itself in nature.
In September and October 2007, Salgado displayed his photographs of coffee workers from India, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Brazil at the Brazilian Embassy in London. The aim of the project was to raise public awareness of the origins of the popular drink.
Together, Lélia and Sebastião, have worked since the 1990s on the restoration of a small part of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. In 1998, they succeeded in turning this land into a nature reserve and created the Instituto Terra. The Instituto is dedicated to a mission of reforestation, conservation and environmental education.
- An Uncertain Grace. New York, NY: Aperture, 1992. ISBN 9780893814601.
- Workers: Archaeology of the Industrial Age.
- Migrations. New York, NY: Aperture, 2000. ISBN 978-0893818913.
- The Children: Refugees and Migrants. New York, NY: Aperture, 2000. ISBN 978-0893818944.
- Sahel: The End of the Road. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0520241701.
- Africa. Cologne: Taschen, 2007. ISBN 978-3836523431.
- Genesis. Cologne: Taschen, 2013. ISBN 978-3836538725.
- 1982: W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund.
- 1985: Oskar Barnack Award.
- 1989: Hasselblad Award, Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Sweden.
- 1992: Oskar Barnack Award.
- 1992: Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- 1993: Centenary Medal from the Royal Photographic Society.
- 1993: Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) from the Royal Photographic Society.
- 1994: Grand Prix National French Ministry of Culture.
- 1998: Prince of Asturias Awards, Arts category.
- 1998: King of Spain Journalism.
- 2003: International Award from the Photographic Society of Japan.
- 2007: M2-El Mundo People’s Choice Award for best exhibition, PhotoEspaña, for Africa.
- Genesis, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada, May–September 2013 and toured, Natural History Museum, London, April–September 2013; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, September 2013–January 2014; National Museum of Singapore, April–August 2014; Palácio das Artes, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, May–August 2014; Fotografiska, Stockholm, June–September 2014; Palazzo della Ragione, Milan, Italy, June–November 2014; International Center of Photography New York City, New York, September 19, 2014 – January 11, 2015 
- Sage, Adam (September 5, 2007). "Taking the espresso train". The Times. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- "Mr. Sebastiao Ribeiro Salgado", American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Accessed 13 August 2014.
- Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Award Accessed 13 August 2012
- "Sebastião Salgado". UNICEF. 29 April 2005. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Sebastião Salgado". Hasselblad Foundation. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- "Photographic Society of Japan Awards". Photographic Society of Japan. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "Sebastião Salgado: GENESIS ", Royal Ontario Museum. Accessed 17 August 2014.
- Coomes, Phil (10 April 2013). "Sebastiao Salgado's Genesis". BBC News. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- "Sebastião Salgado, Genesis", Paris Photo. Accessed 13 August 2014.
- "Genesis", National Museum of Singapore. Accessed 17 August 2014.
- Instituto Terra
- Amazonas Images Photo agency formed by Salgado and his wife Lélia Wanick.
- Biography at The Guardian
- 'Sebastião Salgado: The silent drama of photography' TED Talk (17 minute video)
- "Back to Nature, in Pictures and Action," New York Times, 2009
- "Genesis by Sebastião Salgado: Exhibition Review", Huffington Post UK, 2013