Sebastião Salgado’s Illustrious Photography Career Honored With Achievement Award

Burning oil wells in Kuwait by Sebastiao Salgado

“Kuwait, 1991” (Photo: © Sebastião Salgado)
“The fight against burning oil wells, Kuwait oil fields, 1991.”

Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado is being honored by the 2024 Sony World Photography Awards. Salgado, who has traveled to over 120 countries for his social documentary projects, will be the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography award. It's a fitting show of respect for Salgado, whose career spans more than 50 years.

Known for his remarkable black-and-white photographs, Salgado began his life as an economist working for the International Coffee Organization. As part of his work, he often traveled to Africa, and it was during those trips that he began to take his photography more seriously. He began his career as a full-time photographer in 1973 and has never looked back.

“Ranging from poignant portraits of Indigenous communities and industrial workers, to surveys of migration and striking panoramas of the natural world, Salgado’s distinctive photographic style has resonated with global audiences,” shares the World Photography Organisation, which organizes the awards. “His images, exhibited across leading cultural institutions and featured in major publications around the world, have become emblematic of contemporary photographic journalism.”

Dozens of photos by Salgado will grace the walls of London's Somerset House as part of the 2024 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition. Running from April 19 to May 6, 2024, the exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to see the talented photojournalist's work in person. Some of the photos on view come from his projects Workers, which examines the effects of heavy manual labor across several industries, and Amazônia, which focuses on Brazil's Amazonian forest and the Indigenous peoples who inhabit it.

“I am honored to receive this award and to know that my work is reaching audiences,” shares Salgado. “Photography is my way of life, it is my language, and throughout my career, I have always been interested in capturing the historical moment in which we are living, and telling the stories of our species and our planet. A photographer photographs with his heritage, and in my work, I seek to explore our shared human experience.”

Renowned photojournalist Sebastião Salgado is the Outstanding Contribution to Photography recipient of the Sony World Photography Awards 2024.

Draped in blankets to keep out the cold morning wind, refugees wait outside Korem camp.

“Ethiopia, 1984” (Photo: © Sebastião Salgado)
“Draped in blankets to keep out the cold morning wind, refugees wait outside Korem camp.”

Salgado is known for his remarkable black-and-white photography that focuses on social documentation.

Close up photo of the foot of a Marine iguana in the Galapagos Islands

“Galápagos, Ecuador, 2004” (Photo: © Sebastião Salgado)
“Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). Like other ectothermal reptiles, the marine iguana must regulate its own body temperature: as soon as the sun rises, it lies flat, warming as much body area as possible until the temperature reaches 95.9° Fahrenheit (35.5° Celsius); it then changes position to avoid overheating. The marine iguana needs a high body temperature in order to swim, to move about and to digest. Galápagos. Ecuador. January, February and March 2004.”

World Photography Organisation: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the World Photography Organisation.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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