Sebastião Salgado was born on 8 February 1944 in Aimorés, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He lives in Paris, France.
Having previously worked as an economist, Salgado began his career as a professional photographer in 1973 in Paris, working with the photo agencies Sygma, Gamma, and Magnum Photos until 1994, when he and Lélia Wanick Salgado, his wife, formed Amazonas images, an organization created exclusively for his work.
Salgado has travelled to over 100 countries for his photographic projects. Most of these works, as well as appearing in numerous print publications, have also been presented in books such as Other Americas and Sahel-l’Homme en Détresse(1986), An Uncertain Grace (1990), Workers (1993), Terra (1997), Migrations and Portraits (2000), and Africa (2007). Touring exhibitions of this work have been, and continue to be, presented throughout the world in leading museums and galleries.
In 2004, Salgado began the Genesis project, aiming at presenting the unblemished face of nature and humanity. Genesis consists of a series of landscape and wildlife photographs, as well as photographs of human communities that continue to live in accordance with their ancestral traditions and cultures. This body of work was conceived as a potential path to humanity’s rediscovery of itself in nature.
Two books Genesis, published by TASCHEN, with an international distribution, in six languages, came out in 2013. The Genesis exhibition, a touring exhibition was launched simultaneously in several countries in 2013.
The exhibition has already been presented in 27 countries.
Since the 1990’s, Salgado and Lélia have also worked on the restoration of a part of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. They succeeded in turning the area into a nature reserve in 1998 and created the Instituto Terra an environmental NGO dedicated to a mission of reforestation, conservation and education.
In 2012, Salgado received the Prize e from instituto e, UNESCO Brasil and Rio Town Council, as well as the Prize « Personalidade Ambiental » from WWF, Brazil. These awards were given in recognition of his work with Instituto Terra.
In 2014, he received the Prize Itaca, from the Facultad Ciencias de la Comunicación,
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Spain.
The same year he was honored as “Amigos do Meio Ambiente” (“Friends of the
environment”) at the Fifth World Environment Forum, Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná, Brazil.
Salgado has been awarded numerous major photographic prizes in recognition of his accomplishments. He is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and an honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in the United States. In 2014 he received the insignia of “Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (“Commander of the Order of the Arts and Litterature”) from the Ministry of Culture and Communication, France.