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 aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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