There are tourists and travellers. There are photographers and photojournalists. And then there is Sebastião Salgado, who journeyed with his wife to the Earth’s remote corners in order to remind himself (and us) of the pristine beauty, untouched by modern society: “We must preserve what exists.”
In 245 breathtaking black and white photographs, the GENESIS exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum “begs observers to consider what is left of our planet, what is in peril, and what is left to save.” Having traveled to 32 locations in the last eight years, Salgado documents various peoples, animals, landscapes and seascapes as they may have existed 10,000 years ago. The collected images are presented in five broadly-defined ecosystems: Planet South, Sanctuaries, Africa, Northern Spaces and Amazonia and Pantanal.
Born in Brazil in 1944, Salgado started photography as a hobby while conducting his economics research as a student in Paris. He began his career as a professional photographer in 1973, thereafter traveling to over 100 countries for his photographic projects. Seeing him in a rare public appearance at the North American premiere of this exhibition, it was a privilege to hear his simple plea to humanity: “We must go back to our planet.”
But if you can’t travel around the globe to discover your connection with nature, that’s okay. The penguins await you in Planet South.
(We suggest wearing comfortable shoes for the journey.)