Day 62- Attend a photography lecture


#10, Attend four photography lectures, 4/4

Late last year I saw the documentary, Salt of the Earth, about the life of the photographer Sebastiao Salgado. It was a stunning and breathtaking film.

Here is the trailer if you haven’t seen it.

His TED talk is also very inspiring.

In January, I heard that Sebastiao Salgado would be making a rare speaking tour in California. The moment that the alert from the Central Library appeared in my Inbox, I clicked on it. By the time I got to the website, it was already sold out. The next closest venue was in Santa Barbara. I bought one ticket at the Arlington Theatre and last night was the presentation.

Sebastiao Salgado was interviewed by author, Pico Iyer (who has his own great TED talks). Salgado did not need much prompting however, every picture he has taken is propped up by a thousand stories. He told tales of photographing all the worlds peoples, of migrations, of workers, of animals, and he told how his photography of suffering nearly killed him and how he had to find a way to heal himself before he could return to it.

During the lecture, there was a 25 minute slide presentation set to haunting and thunderous music. The photos were phenomenal and relentless.

For some reason, I was reminded of the time Anthony Bourdain, and a few chef friends of his were invited to a special dinner at The French Laundry.

Towards the end of that dinner the look on Anthony Bourdain’s face said everything. He was undone. It was a look of profound realization that he himself would never achieve that level of mastery combined with a devoted appreciation for the skill and complexity of it. He was one moment joyful, and then he seemed to waver between gluttony, nauseousness, reverence, despair, and envy. I like to call it the Salieri effect.

Tonight I could see the Salieri effect spreading through the crowd as other photographers put their heads in their hands or sat with mouths agape. They wanted to look, but it was also painful to look.

Salgado seemed to understand their pain. He smiled humbly and nodded at the crowd as if to say, “Yes, I know. It’s a gift. I’m sorry. You’re welcome.”

303 days to go!




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