Anything But Paella

Awe-Inspiring Photography in Elche

Like photography? Want to be blown away by some awe-inspiring photography? Head to Elche before 14 December 2020 and you’ll be treated to a stunning display of black and white photographs from around the globe. It’s all out in the open air on the Plaza del Congreso Eucarístico under the watchful gaze of the Basílica de Santa Maria.

Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado is a master of his trade and a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. This collection is entitled “Genesis” and is sponsored by La Caixa Foundation. It captures impressive images of landscapes and wildlife along with intimate portraits of human communities that continue to live according to their ancestral traditions. 38 photos can be seen in Elche but the full collection comprises of 250 in total. You can read more about the collection and see more images on the website of the Huxley Parlour gallery in London.

A project which took the best part of a decade to complete finished in 2013. Genesis is about returning to origins – finding nature in its pure, pristine state. It takes us on a journey to the remotest regions of the planet to see massive elephant seals in South Georgia, thousands of penguins on the Falkland Islands and the Nenets of northern Siberia crossing the ice in the Arctic Circle. In Salgado’s own words: “Genesis is a mosaic presented by nature itself. It is not just a romantic contemplation of the sublime, but also opens up a discussion about what we have done to the planet and what we must now do to protect it.”

Some years ago I first came across Salgado thanks to a film, The Salt of the Earth. This extraordinary biopic follows the life of Salgado and was directed by his son, Juliano.

You can also see an interview with Salgado which features many of the photographs in this exhibition. Aired on Germany’s Deutsche Weller, it is available here in English.

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