“As well as displaying the beauty of nature, Genesis is a call to arms. We cannot continue polluting our soil, water and air. We must act now to preserve unspoiled land and seascapes and protect the natural sanctuaries of ancient peoples and animals. And we can go further: we can try to reverse the damage we have done.” Lélia Wanick Salgado & Sebastião Salgado
Imagine turning back the clock “to the volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that shaped the Earth; to the air, water and fire that gave birth to life”. Genesis is a photographic project aspiring to show and to share the wonders of planet Earth: a journey to remote regions, from the polar circles and tropical forests, to solitary islands and wide deserts. Salgado examines the coexistence of nature and human beings, and the concept of ecological balance that seems to be lost forever in our societies. His earlier projects, such as: “Workers” and “Migration”, show images of a massacred world. They depict sufferance, violence and brutality, as well as human kind’s great courage and resistance.
After the completion of these projects he “had lost faith in the future of humanity”. Genesis seems to express a cathartic need to rediscover and promote the enchanting beauty of nature and its grandeur. The title has nothing to do with religion, but it refers to a concept of harmonic coexistence and to the origins of the Earth.
For Salgado photography is not about militancy, activism or work, it is purely about life. He describes Genesis as one of his “life projects”, more than as a “photographic project”: eight years of work, including a preparation period, 32 trips to distant corners of the globe and post-production. Organisation is fundamental, he states, for practical purposes but also, and more importantly, for psychological reasons.
Lélia Wanick Salgado, wife and partner of Sebastião Salgado throughout all his projects, looking at one of the most impressive photographs tells us that, “we have to get off our pedestal and humbly recognise that we are not superior beings. We are part of nature. Therefore, we have to generate respect for nature among all human beings”, she states, “and empower people in order to change our perception of nature and engage with ecological activism”.
The exhibition Genesis is held at the Casa dei Tre Oci, a splendid example of early 20th-century Venetian architecture, designed by the artist Mario De Maria (Marius Pictor) and built in 1913. Genesis is divided into five geographical sections: the South of the planet, Africa, natural sanctuaries, the North of the planet, and Amazonia.
After Rome, London, Toronto and Rio de Janeiro, the Genesis exhibition will be held in France, the United States of America and other locations worldwide.
- © Sebastião Salgado, Amazonas Images, South Sandwich Islands, 2009. Published in © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas Images
- © Sebastião Salgado, Amazonas Images, South Djanet, Algeria, 2009. Published in © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas Images
- © Sebastião Salgado, Amazonas Images, Antarctica Peninsula, 2005. Published in © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas Images