Salgado and the Amazon: The Green Heart of the World to Protect

During the Covid-19 pandemic, I had the opportunity to explore numerous films and documentaries, including the engaging documentary dedicated to the life of Sebastião Salgado: “The Salt of the Earth,” directed by Wim Wenders in 2014. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit the exhibition of his photographs in Rome, but I am extremely grateful for the chance to admire them in Milan at the Fabbrica del Vapore, extended until 28 January.

His extraordinary photographs are suspended in the air and seem to cut through space, transporting us to an immensely vast and, for me, distant territory, the Amazon rainforest, the green lung of the world.

Let’s embark on a journey into a mysterious world, much like the early conquistadors in search of Eldorado, accompanied by Jean Michel Jarre’s soundtrack.

The showcased images are dedicated to the Negro River and its deep waters, the majestic mountains that touch the rain clouds, and the high trees with deep roots. The black and white images accentuate natural textures, describing a lush, wild, primordial territory, but also extremely fragile at the same time, with rains becoming scarcer each year.

In addition to the landscape, Salgado’s photographs capture the human element within the different indigenous tribes that choose to live in this territory, relying mainly on hunting for their survival. The river and the forest become vital for the survival of these humans, who are conscious of their choice. Many serve as teachers and interpreters, trying to pass down ancient traditions and assert their rights, communicating with the rest of the world and especially with the Brazilian government.

The diverse populations of this territory share a common linguistic heritage, but their languages differ, just as their customs do. However, a profound respect for nature and animals unites them, driven by the desire to preserve this paradise for humanity. In the exhibition, we find interviews and a photograph of the set that Salgado carried through the jungle.

This love for the Amazon has transformed into a project ( aimed at preserving this earthly paradise. Alongside his wife, they have given life to this extraordinary project, replanting trees on their estate and creating greenhouses, thus contributing to the preservation of the beauty of nature and the health of our planet.

Salgado’s exhibition tells us about the beauty and complexity of the world, reminding us that we, as human beings, are the custodians of this garden.