“People are the salt of the earth.”
This quote is from the Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. I saw a documentary about him a few months ago, called The Salth of the Earth. Before I say anything, maybe you should watch the trailer first.
I find it difficult to describe how I felt watching this film. The word that comes in my head is sublime. I’m very careful about using that word, because it should only be used for very special and rare experiences. For me, it means that something is so extraordinary that it makes you feel blown away and emotionally destabilized. I dare to say that Salgados photography comes very close to the sublime for me.
Why? Because it’s stunning. He witnessed a lot of pain and sufferance in the world, like when he photographed people working in the gold mines in Brazil or on the oil fields in Kuwait. This is extremely hard work in very difficult conditions. He also was there when the genocide happened in Rwanda or when people were starving in the Sahel from the lack of food and water. This is a man who saw what people are capable of, both the good and the bad. Some people say he takes advantage of people’s misery to earn money, but I don’t agree with that. In the documentary you see how he is marked by all of the pain he witnessed. Luckely he finds an escape in photographing the wonders of nature, another big theme in his work.
This is a picture I took at Art Brussels where I saw some work of Salgado. Don’t mind the blue lines, it’s just a reflection of the lights. They look like statues, but these are real people, covered in oil from doing their work.
So why am I telling you this now? Because CINEMATEK is showing the documentary on 4/11, 11/11, 17/11 & 18/11/2015 (@Flagey)! I usually don’t go see the same movie more than once, but this time I will.
Check the IMDb website, they gave a score of 8,4.
Buy your tickets here.
Location: Flagey, Ixelles/Elsene.
*You might also like my article about the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.*