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Photographer Sebastião Salgado To Speak In San Diego

A photograph by photographer Sebastião Salgado of a train station in Bombay, ...

Above: A photograph by photographer Sebastião Salgado of a train station in Bombay, India.

Accompanying the Brazilian photographer's lecture is an exhibit of Salgado's work at the San Diego Museum of Art.

The Brazilian-born Sebastião Salgado was an economist when he picked up a camera while working in Africa.

He soon left his job to devote his life to photography. That was in 1973. In a 2013 TED Talk, Salgado spoke about the transition.

"Many people tell me that I am a photojournalist, or an anthropologist photographer, or an activist photographer, but I did much more than that. I made photography my life," Salgado said.

He went on to spend years, sometimes decades, working on projects photographing humanitarian crisis, the plight of laborers, and the impact of industrialization on developing countries.

His most recent long-term project is called "Genesis" and it includes images of wildlife, landscapes, seascapes, and indigenous people, all in an effort to raise awareness about climate change and the environment.

Eleven of Salgado's images will be on view at the San Diego Museum of Art through May 17. One of the photographs is in the museum's permanent collection. The others are on loan from the Museum of Photographic Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

Salgado will talk about his work on Thursday as part of the museum's Axline Lecture Series, which is produced in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

SDMA associate curator of modern art Ariel Plotek helped put the SDMA exhibit together. He said Salgado’s black-and-white images are now iconic.

"They really are as rich an image as a black-and-white photograph will ever be," Plotek said. "I think one of the things that technique does is strip away a lot of the distracting features of the image."

For even more background on Salgado, watch the 2014 Academy Award-nominated documentary "The Salt of the Earth," directed by Wim Wenders.

Trailer for "The Salt of the Earth."

Director Wim Wenders made a documentary about photographer Sebastião Salgado. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 2014.

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