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GENESIS : Wondrous images of this amazing world by Sebastiao Salgado

24 Nov 2014 11:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Thank you to Andrew Rock for sharing his experience of visiting the Genesis exhibition by Sebastiao Salgado. Viewing Salgado's photography is a profoundly beautiful way to practice mindfulness for this incredible planet that we are so fortunate to share.

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Yesterday Nancy and I were in Manhattan, at the International Center for Photography to see Genesis, the great photographer Sebastiao Salgado’s epic depiction of this beautiful and amazing world, and its myriad and wonderful creatures.


Salgado’s gorgeous black and white photographs reveal the almost incomprehensible sweep, diversity, power and stunning beauty of our planet, as if this was the dawn of creation. And in a sense it is, because for us this planet will never be more beautiful, more alive than it is right now.


The immense majesty of mountain ranges, glittering in sun-pierced storms, cloaked in snow and ribboned with shining rivers; wide untouched deserts of endless dunes; and baobab forests in New Guinea, ice sheets in the south Pacific islands, grand canyon walls and wind-carved monuments in the American southwest… All still there to be seen, and Salgado journeyed this intimate vastness with the eye and the skill of an accomplished artist, to see and share with us the glory of creation.


Nothing is sterile in this Genesis. Salgado shows us not only the beauty of rock and sky and water, but also herds of reindeer in the Brooks Range, colonies of penguins scattered over Antarctic ice, elephant families in the Okavango Delta, a heron in flight, a jaguar crouched at a river to drink, giant bats flying silhouetted under lacy leaves of tropical forest.


Despite the daily extinctions of species, despite the decimation of the teeming abundance of wildlife that covered the plains, filled the skies and animated the spreading forests not so many generations ago, the variety of living beings is still – still! – a source of delight and gratitude. Genesis reintroduces us to our biological brothers and sisters, so innocently reliant on us to protect their homes, and to enjoy and preserve the wonder of their existence.


As if the plants and animals were not amazing enough, the wonderful diversity of peoples on this earth is also revealed in this Genesis. I could hardly believe that in this day and age there are cultures still living so simply, so perfectly and uniquely adapted to such diverse environments. Salgado takes us along with the fur-clad Nenets in the Siberian arctic as they migrate north with their reindeer herds; climbs huge tropical trees to visit in forest tree houses; squats with the San bushmen of the Kalahari desert as they make music with gourds and twirl sticks to kindle fire; shows us the shining eyes of young Turkana women, wonderful black satin skin scarred by ritual beauty marks; endures the watchful stare of shaggy-haired tribesmen in the high mountain forest of Papua; relaxes at midday in shaded reed hammocks with Amazonian families.


There is no hubris in these pictures. “In Genesis, my camera allowed nature to speak to me. And it was my privilege to listen.” Salgado’s awe, delight and reverence for this sacred world shines through every photograph. He calls this collection his “love letter to the planet.” He and his partner Lelia and their team put in eight years of hard travel and deep, patient looking to reveal the glory of creation in these wonderful portraits.


What motivated their project was not only their desire to see and share the beauty and diversity of this amazing planet, but their knowledge that it is dying of our unbridled greed for more fossil fuels, more money, more meat, more power, more stuff. They hope that if we can truly see how wonderful is our earth and how beautiful and vulnerable our fellow creatures, our hearts will spill over with love, wonder and delight. And with that love will come the creative energy and determination to change our materialist ways and to halt the reckless rape of our planet and destruction of its creatures.


This marvelous exhibit exhorts us to slow down and appreciate this wonderful earth our home, and the web of life that holds and sustains us, so that this glorious genesis does not pass away and this planet become another lifeless hunk of dead rock in a cold universe.


If you can, please see these wonderful photographs. In person in New York through January 11, 2015,  

http://www.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/sebastiao-salgado-genesis    

collected in the Genesis book,

http://www.amazon.com/Sebasti%E2%88%9A%C2%A3o-Salgado-GENESIS-Lelia-Wanick/dp/3836538725

 or take a look online. 

https://www.google.com/search?q=genesis+salgado&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=LbtoVP-kA9apyATXtoK4Cg&ved=0CDIQsAQ&biw=1258&bih=563

(please copy and paste URLs if links don't work)

Then step out side, look up at the sky, and around you at the life that abounds everywhere, even in the city, even now. Watch a bird in flight, look in a baby’s face, take a minute to simply breathe and enjoy being alive. Let’s expand our awareness, realizing how we are a small part of genesis, interconnected and interdependent with our environment and all its inhabitants. This world is not ours to plunder and destroy, but rather to enjoy and protect as stewards for future generations. May this Genesis contribute to a new beginning for the way we live on this wonderful planet!


Andrew Rock


Brooklyn, NY


November 2014


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