'The Salt of the Earth' a moving account of photographer Sebastiao Salgado's global exploration

April 6, 2015 12:37 PM

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Watching "The Salt of the Earth," the compelling new documentary about photographer Sebastiao Salgado, it becomes clear early on just how odd it is to experience Salgado's work on someone else's timetable. With an exhibition or a book of photographs, you set your own clock, spending as much time or as little inside a particular image as you like. With film, that's not the case. Co-directors Wim Wenders (a huge Salgado fan) and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado (the photographer's son) linger on certain canvases of catastrophe or human suffering while darting off others, and often I found myself engaging in an internal monologue: Wait! Go back! Other times it was the opposite, when Salgado's imposing, devastating images of famine and genocide victims became nearly too much to bear.

The film is a moving account of one man's global exploration, and how ecological awareness and a desire to go home again repaired his soul after seeing and processing so much inhumanity. "The Salt of the Earth" begins with a series of photographs taken at Brazil's Serra Pelada gold mine, where some ...

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