Salgado @ Natural History Museum


Genesis is the name given to the first book of the Bible. The book in which we are given a description of the creation of the world. A world which is free of technology and is purely natural. Sebastiao Salgado’s exhibition at the Natural History Museum is aptly titled. It is a celebration of the world in which we live in and of life; particularly the people and animals who live free of the technology and gadgets we are so reliant on in our twenty-first century world.

This exhibition is stunning. All of the photographs on display have been printed in black and white. The monochrome prints allow us to look at nature without altered light or brightened colour, it is pure, and the hyperreal detail is breathtaking. Some images are so sharp on detail that they look more like paintings or engravings than photographs and leave the viewer spellbound.

The subjects of Salgado’s images are indigenous peoples. They are members of tribes, going about their lives. Not one image is stage, not one sitter is posing. The figures appear totally oblivious to the photographer’s camera. It is this unaffectedness of these peoples that make his images so spectacular.

My personal favourite images were those of chinstrap penguins in front of mountains and whale fins peeping out of the sea. Salgado’s approach to nature is something to be admired. Amongst the wildlife on display there are also alligators, giraffes and sea lions.

Salgado has triumphed in this display. The photographs are simply beautiful and I urger all readers to attend before the show closes.

Sebastiao Salgado: Genesis is on display at Natural History Museum until 8 September

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer with a special interest in contemporary Middle Eastern Art. She has a BA in Art History and an MA in Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She runs the Gallery Girl blog and has written for After Nyne, Arteviste, Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine, ReOrient and Suitcase Magazine. Lizzy is also curator of Arab Women Artists Now - AWAN 2018 (London).

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