LETTER TO THE PLANET AND THE WORLD #2
Sebastião Salgado exhibition.
This blog in the Townie series was once again written by the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana.
Can photography change the course of events? At the moment of its creation can it have an impact on the future? This eternal question about the purpose of photography occurs to me when considering the work of Sebastião Salgado.
Every day we are surrounded by a flood of photography, which tends to leave us numb and indifferent to photographic works. To the greatest extent we most often notice the subject of beauty, which we all see and understand in our own way. On the other hand, we still see photographic works that shake us up, that create internal distress and inner restlessness, and which remain imprinted on our memories forever.
The photography in the Genesis series has awoken reminders in me about where we come from and what we have in common with the world we live in”.
The news that Ljubljana - European Green Capital was set to host the Genesis exhibition of work by Sebastião Salgado triggered two feelings within me. In an instant my memory transported me back to the beauty and aesthetics of the black and white photography series Workers, which shows workers in the Serra Pelada gold mines. The aesthetic of the work, which simultaneously reveals the harsh reality of a specific time and situation – these are people in poverty, in appalling working conditions, who are trying to make a better future possible by searching for gold. Many in the series are as described by the metaphor of Dante’s Inferno.
But if we know Salgado’s work and his path, we know that more than thirty years have passed since the Workers series and in that time the author’s testimony about the horrors and destruction of civilisation have been replaced with a new outlook. With his latest series of work – Genesis, which will be on show in the Jakopič Gallery in the City Museum of Ljubljana – he wants to communicate something completely different. Genesis is a series of images of pristine pieces of the world. The author himself has referred to this series of images as a “love letter to the planet”.
Daily events glide past me and over time I wonder whether those who walk in my footsteps see the same as I do or if I am really simplifying: “Will natural habitats endure or will they only be preserved like in a zoo?” The photography in the Genesis series has awoken reminders in me about where we actually come from and what we have in common with the world we live in. And at the same time it stimulates awareness of the fact that we have the chance to affect the course of the future. The series of work triggers encouragement and hope that the planet I am leaving for posterity is as I have received from my ancestors.
Matevž Paternoster is a freelance photographer in the cultural field. He works in various areas of photography. His work can mainly be traced in the commercial-commission field, museum-documentary and independent author projects. In addition to his profession as a photographer, he works as an occasional lecturer. He lives and creates in Ljubljana. Photo: Mitja Božič
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