Archive: Sebastião Salgado
Overworked and underpaid – Dramatic photos of workers

Overworked and underpaid – Dramatic photos of workers

Sebastião Salgado - Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991, Chemical spray protects firefighter
Sebastião Salgado – Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991
Chemical spray protects firefighter

The Story in Sebastiao Salgado’s workers

Sebastiao Salgado’s workers is an exceptional photography series and book thanks to its detail in men at work in the lowest levels and harshest conditions. His work shows solidarity with the world’s most poor societies. He seeks to recognize and appreciate the isolated peasants and refugees who represent a large portion of humankind. Salgado focuses on oppressed workers of South America comprising men and women who are overworked and underpaid. The book is a journey into activities that define the real labor force responsible for changing the world with major constructions. It also depicts the transformation from stone-age to the present industrialized levels.

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Sebastião Salgado’s impressive photos of what used to be Brazil’s largest and most dangerous mine

Sebastião Salgado’s impressive photos of what used to be Brazil’s largest and most dangerous mine

Sebastiao Salgado - Serra Pelada Gold Mine, Brazil, 1986 17
Serra Pelada Gold Mine, Brazil, 1986

Salgado’s Serra Pelada

Serra Pelada refers to a series of photographs that were taken in 1986 depicting endless numbers of mine workers distributed on various parts of a tall gold mining cliff. The black and white photos were taken from a distance and at an elevated vantage point by photographer Sebastiao Salgado. Because of the location and the angle in which the photos were taken, the subjects look like dots as only their general forms are noticeable. The photograph captures gold grabbers and miners pouring from the side of Brazil’s then largest and most dangerous mine known as Serra Pelada.

Salgado’s Serra Pelada consists of 28 photographs taken during his time at the mine. To get a true picture of the occurrences of the mine, Salgado was forced to spend several weeks living at Serra Pelada, where he observed miners and workers making as many as 60 trips up and down the dangerous cliff while carrying heavy sacks that weighed between 30 and 60 kgs. To worsen the situation, miners were only paid 60 cents for each of the trips amidst instances of disease, violence, and danger.

About Sebastião Salgado

Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado Júnior is a Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist that has built a successful photography career that has seen his work published in numerous books and publications. As a photojournalist, Salgado seeks to photograph the most unsettling images of human life on earth, exposing things that appear almost unrealistic and improbable such as the Serra Pelada gold mine.

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