Photography News issue 25


Photography News Issue 25


Salgado book Spilling the beans Sebastião Salgado is one of the world’s leading photojournalists and his latest book brings together ten years of his work documenting the grass roots of the world’s coffee trade

Words by Will Cheung

Sebastião Salgado’s photographic career began in 1973 when he made switched from being an economist. His black & white documentary images led him to work for photo agencies Sygma, Gamma and later Magnum Photos, before setting up his own agency with his wife, Amazonas Images. My own earliest recollection of his work was a photo essay published in The Sunday Times Magazine sometime during the mid-eighties of pictures from the Serra Pelada gold mine in Brazil. His shots of the pain, hardship and spirit of people in atrocious, dangerous conditions, digging for gold by hand were truly memorable. The Scent of a Dream is Salgado’s latest book (published last month) and represents more than ten years of work documenting sustainable and traditional coffee growing across the globe, covering, among others, China, Colombia, Guatemala, India and his own native Brazil. “I began working on it [the book] in 2002 almost in my own backyard,” he says, “in the contiguous states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, where rolling hills are landscaped with acres upon acres of coffee trees under the sun. My first stop was the area aroundManhuaçu, wheremy father had collected coffee decades earlier. I returned 12 years later. But it was in Espírito Santo, when I photographed a mule train picking its way along a stony mountain path, that I suddenly realised I was revisiting my father’s life. In fact, in many ways, my father accompanied me on much of my lengthy journey through the world of coffee.” This beautifully presented book shows off Salgado’s journey brilliantly. Wonderful compositions full of intricate detail and mood are fully exploited by high-quality printing, and there is inspiration on every page. Brilliant and thoroughly recommended.

See it yourself

The images featured here come from Salgado’s latest book, The Scent of a Dream: Travels in the World of Coffee , ISBN: 978 1 4197 19219. It’s published by Abrams & Chronicle and costs £50. Its design is very sympathetic and tasteful, and shows off Salgado’s monochromes to great effect. In addition, its production values are very high, and printing quality is excellent, too, so the images are beautifully rich. A deserving addition to every photographer’s library.

©TheScentofaDream:Travels intheWorldofCoffeeSebastião Salgado publishedbyAbrams (English-languageedition)and Contrastosrl (Italianedition)

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