Capturing through the camera lens the pure essence of what your eyes witness of the world is an elusive goal for most of us. “You should have seen it in the real,” we say, shaking our heads. “It was so much better.”
But Sebastião Salgado brings us that real, and it is startlingly beautiful, and at times, difficult, because these are not simple stories to share or to receive, evoking a complex mixture of emotions about this narrative of life unspoiled.
His exhibition, Genesis, on display at the Royal Ontario Museum through to September 2nd, brings us sweeping landscapes and sharply focused edges. Depicted are layers upon layers of nature still untouched by human hands, as well as human hearts and minds untouched by popular culture.
Landscape and life blend together, a thin veil between them as camouflage, protecting from outside forces. Black and white mix with grey and silver, patterning in dimensions and new perspectives, disguising truth and then revealing it in a kaleidoscope of earthly design; of humanity.
Despite the razor sharpness of some elements, there remains a certain dreamlike quality, cradling the viewer in an almost otherworldly comfort, as an arm around shoulders.
For those who have all but given up on perfection, you will find it here, both in the photographs and the subjects portrayed.
It seemed fitting, somehow, that a surprise summer rain shower was just starting to wash the grit from the sea of asphalt and concrete as I left.