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You’ll be inspired by this collection of quotes by photographer Sebastiao Salgado.

“I looked through a lens and ended up abandoning everything else.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“When I was just starting out, I met Cartier-Bresson. He wasn’t young in age but, in his mind, he was the youngest person I’d ever met. He told me it was necessary to trust my instincts, be inside my work, and set aside my ego. In the end, my photography turned out very different to his, but I believe we were coming from the same place.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“It is a great honor for me to be compared to Henri Cartier-Bresson…But I believe there is a very big difference in the way we put ourselves inside the stories we photograph. He always strove for the decisive moment as being the most important. I always work for a group of pictures, to tell a story. If you ask which picture in a story I like most, it is impossible for me to tell you this. I don’t work for an individual picture. If I must select one individual picture for a client, it is very difficult for me.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“As long as there’s journalism, there will be photojournalism. They’re two halves of a whole. And although they certainly won’t last forever, for the moment I don’t see either one of them coming to an end. Roland Barthes, in his book Camera Lucida, stated that photography, rather than film or television, is the collective memory of the world. As I see it, he’s right about this. Photography immortalize a moment, which then becomes a symbol, a reference. Photography is universal language; it doesn’t need translation. Its collective memory is a mirror in which our society continually observes itself…” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I’m not an artist. An artist makes an object. Me, it’s not an object, I work in history, I’m a storyteller.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I can be an artist a posteriori, not a priori. If my pictures tell the story, our story, human story, then in a hundred years, then they can be considered an art reference, but now they are not made as art. I’m a journalist. My life’s on the road, my studio is the planet.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“For me, art is such a wide concept – anything can be art.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I don’t want anyone to appreciate the light or the palette of tones. I want my pictures to inform, to provoke discussion – and to raise money.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“What I want is the world to remember the problems and the people I photograph. What I want is to create a discussion about what is happening around the world and to provoke some debate with these pictures. Nothing more than this. I don’t want people to look at them and appreciate the light and the palate of tones. I want them to look inside and see what the pictures represent, and the kind of people I photograph.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I try with my pictures to raise a question, to provoke a debate, so that we can discuss problems together and come up with solutions.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I am a former economist. I never went to photography school to learn photography.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I have been photographing the portrait of an end of an era, as machines and computers replace human workers. What we have in these pictures is an archeology.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“You photograph with all your ideology.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I’m not a religious person. The language of photography is symbolic.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“The language that photography has is a formal language. Any photographer is doing something formal. If it’s formal, then it must be an aesthetic way to communicate.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“Most of the information we now get is through television and is mutilated. Photography offers the opportunity to spend much more time on a topic. It’s relatively cheaper medium, and can allow a photographer really to live in another place, show another reality, get closer to the truth.” – Sebastiao Salgado
“When you work fast, what you put in your pictures is what your brought with yoiu — your own ideas and concepts. When you spend more time on a project, you learn to understand your subjects. There comes a time when it is not you who is taking the pictures. Something special happens between the photographer and the people he is photographing. He realizes that they are giving the pictures to him.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“There comes a moment when it is no longer you who takes the photograph, but receives the way to do it quite naturally and fully.

“You need to be accepted by reality.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“It’s not the photographer who makes the picture, but the person being photographed.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“The picture is not made by the photographer, the picture is more good or less good in function of the relationship that you have with the people you photograph.” ― Sebastião Salgado

“I have tried to bring about better communication between people. I believe that humanitarian photography is like economics. Economy is a kind of sociology, as is documentary photography.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“We live in a society where we never prepare people to be a community.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“We are one human race, and there must be understanding among all men. For those who look at the problems of today, my big hope is that they understand. That they understand that the population is quite big enough, that they must be informed that they must have economic development, that they must have social development, and must be integrated into all parts of the world.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I work alone. Humans are incredible, because when you come alone, they will receive you, they accept you, they protect you, they give you all things that you need, and they teach you all things you must know. When you come with two persons or three persons, you have a group in front of them. They don’t discuss with the new persons what is important to them…” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I tell a little bit of my life to them, and they tell a little of theirs to me. The picture itself is just the tip of the iceberg.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“There are moments that you suffer a lot, moments you won’t photograph. There are some people you like better than others. But you give, you receive, you cherish, you are there. When you are really there, you know when you see the picture later what you are seeing.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“If you take a picture of a human that does not make him noble, there is no reason to take this picture. That is my way of seeing things.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I very much like to work on long-term projects…There is time for the photographer and the people in front of the camera to understand each other. There is time to go to a place and understand what is happening there. …When you spend more time on a project, you learn to understand your subjects. There comes a time when it is not you who is taking the pictures. Something special happens between the photographer and the people he is photographing. He realizes that they are giving the pictures to him.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“So many times I’ve photographed stories that show the degradation of the planet. I had one idea to go and photograph the factories that were polluting, and to see all the deposits of garbage. But, in the end, I thought the only way to give us an incentive, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet – to see the innocence.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I discovered that close to half the planet is ‘pristine.’ We live in towns such as London, Paris or Sao Paulo and have the impression that all the pristine areas are gone, but they are not.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“We are animals, born from the land with the other species. Since we’ve been living in cities, we’ve become more and more stupid, not smarter. What made us survive all these hundreds of thousands of years is our spirituality; the link to our land.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“In the end, the only heritage we have is our planet, and I have decided to go to the most pristine places on the planet and photograph them in the most honest way I know, with my point of view, and of course it is in black and white, because it is the only thing I know how to do.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“I don’t believe a person has a style. What people have is a way of photographing what is inside them. What is there comes out.” – Sebastiao Salgado

“…my way of photographing is my way of life. I photograph from my experience, my way of seeing things…” – Sebastiao Salgado

“Of course, I won’t be abandoning photography, because it is my life.” – Sebastiao Salgado

Explore The Essential Collection of Quotes By Photographers here.

View The Essential Collection Of Photographers Documentaries here.


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