Peace prize for photographer and conservationist salgado

Peace prize for photographer and conservationist salgado

For the first time a photographer is awarded the peace prize of the german book trade: sebastiao salgado from brazil. He will receive the important honor and 25 000 euros on 20. October at the end of the frankfurt book fair.

The association of german booksellers chose salgado because his work "calls for social justice and peace and lends urgency to the global debate on nature and climate protection" – that’s how the book industry’s umbrella organization justified its choice on tuesday.

The 75-year-old has reported on the iraq war and the genocide in rwanda, on refugee flows in africa and inhumane working conditions in latin america. "I have seen very bad things," he said shortly before his 75th birthday. In an interview with the french television station france 24 on the occasion of his 70th birthday. "I have experienced things that make me doubt humanity."

Salgado arrived on 8. Born in the small town of aimores in the brazilian state of minas gerais on february 1944, he grew up on a cattle farm. Because of his commitment against the military dictatorship in brazil, he emigrated to paris in 1969. In the 1970s, he worked as an economist on development aid projects in africa. In 1973, he gave up his profession to work entirely as a photographer.

"Other photographers are in a crisis area for a few days, or just a few hours. Salgado often spent months getting to know the people there," says director wim wenders, who portrayed the photographer in his 2014 documentary "salt of the earth".

After years in the most inhospitable places in the world, war zones and refugee camps, salgado could not go on. He went back to brazil to his parents’ farm. He reforested the depleted soil and founded the non-profit "instituto terra". In 1998, the land was converted into a nature reserve, and since then 2.7 million trees have been planted.

When not in brazil, salagdo lives in paris with his wife, an architect. The couple has been married since 1967 and has two adult sons. Salgado has received numerous awards, including the world press photo award (1985), the grand prix national de la photographie (1994) and the prince of asturias prize (1998). He worked with unicef, amnesty international and doctors without borders, for whose campaigns he provided pictures.

In addition to his social photography works such as "workers," "migrants" and "africa," salgado has recently devoted himself increasingly to nature photography. For "genesis" he succeeded in creating impressive landscape shots and intense animal images.

But salgado worries about the planet’s conservation: "we have evolved into urban animals with a brutal consumption," he said in an interview with france 24. "The earth can’t give us everything we consume. We are witnessing a catastrophe that could lead to the end of the human species."

Heinrich riethmuller, director of the borsenverein, believes that his pictures are a counterweight to this: he sensitizes us to personal fates "and gives us the chance to understand the earth for what it is: as a living space that does not belong to us alone and that must be preserved at all costs".

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