Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Salt of the Earth

I just watched The Salt of the Earth, a documentary about the gifted photographer, Sebastiao Salgado. He is a highly respected social photographer, who has traveled extensively, taking stunning images of people all over the world. 

Later in his career, he traveled to document what was happening in Rwanda to the refugees of the massacre. What he saw there sickened his soul. He left Africa thinking humans did not deserve to live. 

Returning home to Bolivia, to his ancestors' homestead, he found it a barren desert; all of the forests he knew as a boy were gone. His wife suggested they replant it, and they began, slowly, over the years restoring the forest with the planting of some two million trees. The planting of the trees healed him, along with the formerly barren slopes of his homestead.

His last project was a book of stunning images, Genesis, documenting the beauty of the world's remaining wild places, which he describes as a love song to the earth. 

The documentary shows not only his breathtaking work, but travels to amazing places with he and his camera  as he works. He shares his wisdom and all he has learned with us in a commentary throughout the film. It closes with the photographer's message to us all:

"The destruction of nature can be reversed." 

A message I find very hopeful. Because of the grimness of the parts of the movie about refugees, especially those of Rwanda and the Congo, this film is not for everyone. But it documents the very interesting and productive life of a man who has seen amazing things through his lens, and shares them with us. In his lifetime, he not only documented major events, recorded the vagaries of humanity and the wonders of the earth, but also helped restore, full circle, the decimated forests of his childhood. A life well-spent, I'd say.

This film was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary, and deservedly so. 


  1. You and I knew that. It is good to know more will know.

  2. This is incredibly encouraging Sherry and if such a duty of love is taken up by just a few others, the world would be soon be healed


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