I wept while watching "The Salt of The Earth" the documentary about Sebastiao Salgado and his work as a photographer and environmentalist to his native Brazil. Mr. Salgado is a social documentary photographer and photojournalist. Yet beyond those monikers, Mr. Salgado captures the human condition of globalization versus the rampant death, destruction, and decay it has wrought.
Looking at Mr. Salgado's images, I felt the anguish his subjects. Their plight was graphic and striped with any semblance of hope. Each image was a visual testimony to the global horror and shame of humanity in the pursuit of economic progress.
Mr. Salgado akin to Ms. Sontag taught me the paramount significance and responsibility of a photographer to tell the story of others. I also, wept because I selfishly wanted my photos to make people feel what I felt in that theater. In retrospect, that feeling was my ego desperately wanting to strut on the stage of self-importance, fame, and recognition; I wanted to be an artist.
Through Mr. Salgado's images, I've further learned to put my ego aside and care for the work and the stories that needed to be told. Now, similar to Mr. Salgado, I understand "I’m not an artist. An artist makes an object. Me, it’s not an object, I work in history, I’m a storyteller.”