A Different Light: The Photography of Sebastićo Salgado

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9780822350316: A Different Light: The Photography of Sebastićo Salgado

A Different Light is the first in-depth study of the work of Sebastião Salgado, widely considered the greatest documentary photographer of our time. For more than three decades, Salgado has produced thematic photo-essays depicting the massive human displacement brought about by industrialization and conflict. These projects usually take years to complete and include pictures from dozens of countries. Parvati Nair offers detailed analyses of Salgado’s best-known photo-essays, including Workers (1993) and Migrations (2000), as well as Genesis, which he began in 2004. With Genesis, Salgado has turned his lens from human turmoil to those parts of the planet not yet ravaged by modernity. Interpreting the photographer’s oeuvre, Nair engages broad questions about aesthetics, history, ethics, and politics in documentary photography. At the same time, she draws on conversations with Salgado and his wife and partner, Lélia Wanick Salgado, to explain the significance of the photographer’s life history, including his roots in Brazil and his training as an economist; his perspectives; and his artistic method. Underpinning all of Salgado’s major projects is a concern with displacement, exploitation, and destruction—of people, communities, and land. Salgado’s images exalt reality, compelling viewers to look and, according to Nair, to envision the world otherwise.

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Review:

“Through exhaustive research on Salgado's work, Nair raises critical questions on ethics, politics, history, photography, and aesthetics. . . . Particularly poignant are the intimate conversations among Nair, Salgado, and his wife, Lélia, which add tremendous clarity to Salgado's worldview. Highly recommended for fans of Salgado's work and for those interested in photojournalism, documentary photography, and global humanitarian issues.” - Shauna Frischkorn, Library Journal

“[A]dvance[s] a perceptive, penetrating understanding of social and natural discord encoded in the photographs.” - Giovanna L. Costantini, Leonardo Reviews

“[T]his treatise is useful for its focus on Salgado and its contribution to the search for answers about the ongoing presence of what often seems an unsolvable but significant concern. Nair's book highlights another central core within Salgado's ongoing visual investigation: the varying relationship(s) between humans and the land. . . . Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.” - C. Chiarenza, Choice

“This work constitutes, to my knowledge, the first book-length study of the Brazilian documentarist’s work, and as such it represents a significant contribution to Latin American scholarship on photography and beyond—to visual cultural studies writ large. The author effortlessly ranges across aesthetic theory, Latin American historiography, and postcolonial criticism, as well as theories of photography, in addressing her subject.” - Jorge Coronado, The Americas

“One need not be familiar with photographer Sebastião Salgado in order to uncover something innovative about visual studies within Parvati Nair’s biography. . . . . Nair effectively compares and contrasts Salgado to other influential photographers across time and place . . . while at the same time confronting both his detractors and fans through a theoretical lens.” - Bree Akesson, Visual Studies

“The importance of Salgado as a photographer is indisputable, he is the curator of chiaroscuro, and it is remarkable that Parvati Nair’s A Different Light is the first full-length study of him to appear in print. Her book offers an interdisciplinary overview of his work.” - Sean Sheehan, Dublin Review of Books

“A superb book on the most important photographer in the world today, A Different Light cuts a very wide swath: critical photojournalism, humanitarian documentation, political aesthetics, visual epistemology and historiography, representational theory, documentary ethics, the colonial gaze, the Frankfurt School, Latin America, Africa, the place of still photography in a rapidly moving world, ecology, art, profit, and concern. This is the book that the photography of Sebastião Salgado deserves.”—John Mraz, author of Looking for Mexico: Modern Visual Culture and National Identity

“An excellent study! Parvati Nair simultaneously places the work of Sebastião Salgado within broader contexts and illuminates contemporary debates on aesthetics, ethics, and photodocumentary, with welcome emphasis on perspectives from the Global South. A must-read for all those concerned with photographs as visible evidence.”—Liz Wells, Plymouth University, United Kingdom

“[A]dvance[s] a perceptive, penetrating understanding of social and natural discord encoded in the photographs.” (Giovanna L. Costantini Leonardo Reviews)

“[T]his treatise is useful for its focus on Salgado and its contribution to the search for answers about the ongoing presence of what often seems an unsolvable but significant concern. Nair's book highlights another central core within Salgado's ongoing visual investigation: the varying relationship(s) between humans and the land. . . . Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.” (C. Chiarenza Choice)

“Through exhaustive research on Salgado's work, Nair raises critical questions on ethics, politics, history, photography, and aesthetics. . . . Particularly poignant are the intimate conversations among Nair, Salgado, and his wife, Lélia, which add tremendous clarity to Salgado's worldview. Highly recommended for fans of Salgado's work and for those interested in photojournalism, documentary photography, and global humanitarian issues.” (Shauna Frischkorn, Library Journal)

“Nair's study is excellent because of its documentary quality. She interviews Salgado and his wife, Lélia Wanick Salgado, as to their projects and the contexts of their work and she is careful to discuss in depth the controversies surrounding his work and the museological issues associated with the privileged exhibition of misery and poverty. Because it is so meticulously documented, the reader has access to an excellent understanding of the Salgado project.” (David William Foster Luso-Brazilian Review)

“With English language studies on Brazilian photography and photographers relatively scarce, A Different Light makes an important and very welcome contribution to the field.”
(Alice L. Allen Bulletin of Hispanic Studies)

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