Larry Rhoter – The New York Times, 3/23/2015
Sebastião Salgado has won every major prize a photographer can receive, with his crisp, compassionate black-and-white images, many of them from war zones and other locations of human suffering, hanging on the walls of museums, galleries and private collections around the world. His books, including “Workers,” “Migrations,” “Sahel” and, most recently, the nature-oriented “Genesis,” have consistently met with commercial and critical success.
Now, as if to complete the picture, a documentary film about Mr. Salgado, 71, and his work is about to opens in theaters across the United States. “The Salt of the Earth,” a collaborative effort between the German director Wim Wenders, who is also a photographer, and Mr. Salgado’s son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, was nominated for the Oscar for best documentary film, won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival last spring and last month was also awarded a César, the French equivalent of an Academy Award.
The documentary features Mr. Salgado explaining, in French and Portuguese, how he came to take some of his best-known images, such as those from the Serra Pelada series shot in a gold mine in the Amazon 30 years ago. But it also makes clear that his path to becoming a renowned photographer was arduous: He was born deep in the isolated Brazilian interior, scrimped to get an economics degree, left his country and took refuge in France after a military dictatorship seized power in Brazil, and in the mid-1990s suffered what he called “a deep psychological crisis” after covering the genocidal civil wars in Rwanda and Bosnia and had to recalibrate the focus of his work.