Sebastião Salgado's Genesis - How did he do it?
I was in London this weekend and I went to see the Salgado Genesis exhibition at the Natural History Museum. It's an astounding and fantastic show that left me awestruck, overwhelmed and inspired.
What I would have liked to learn however was which cameras, film and printing techniques he used.
I recently went to see the Ansel Adams show at the maritime museum and this kind of information was given. All prints were made by Adams himself, unless otherwise stated.
Some of the Salgado images seem optically impossible and to produce such an extensive corpus of work in a darkroom would be a feat all of its own. I would be very interested to know:
Which cameras does Salgado use?
What film does he use?
What paper are they printed on and are they darkroom prints?
Are these images digital and have they been developed and manipulated in Photoshop?
Whatever the answers are, the show is amazing and the images are mind-blowing. I can only recommend a visit to see these works which were obviously taken and made my a master.
If anyone has any information on his techniques, I would greatly appreciate answers or links to more information about his process.
EDIT: I just found this article which lists his equipment. It appears he uses digital technology. A Canon 1DS Mk III.
EDIT: I found this article which explains a little more
EDIT: I found this on the Ilford site:
I started Genesis with film and changed to digital. The airport X-Ray scanners degrade the quality of film, and so I decided to change to digital and was quite surprised. Quality was better than the one I had with negatives in medium format. I turned off the screen on the back of the camera, and used my camera as I have always done. When I came back to Paris, I printed contact sheets and edited the photos using a magnifying glass, because I don't know how to do it in the computer.
EDIT: More on his digital process. I guess I've answered all of my questions here.
On April 11th ILFORD Master Sebastiao Salgado's much anticipated Genesis exhibition will open its doors at the Natural History Museum in London.
Featuring 200 stunning black and white images printed on ILFORD GALERIE Prestige Gold Fibre Silk, Genesis is Salgado's third (after Workers & Migrations) and perhaps last great photographic project.
What would you say to photographers who maintain that digital photography will never match the quality of analogue?
Previously, if you had an enlarger, to get a perfect print was very difficult. And today, well, you can have a perfect print from digital. What for me is a little bit scary, is just how realistic it is that these images will stay around forever. If you store them on hard disks, will they be accessible for a long time? So at this moment we create negatives for the most important pictures that I make with digital. We have a very nice process to transform an image into a negative in order to be able to store it. Because with negatives I’m 100% sure we can store the image for a very long time. But, the digital system is still in total evolution. The cameras that I use, I started using very recently. We started in digital in 2008. Compared with the camera I used in 2008, the cameras that just have come out now are three times better in terms of quality than before, the quality that exists now is must better. For me one thing digital is fabulous for is low light shooting. I lose probably 95% of everything I shoot in very low light. And because I normally photographed people, and people move, to get a really strong picture I must shoot with the light is available. You cannot ask a person to stop while you put up your tripod for a portrait. I lose a lot of my pictures in this way. But today with digital you can shoot at such high sensibility. The potential for changing the behaviour of the camera and lens is incredible and in very very low light that gives you incredible opportunity. If I’d had this at the beginning of my life as a photographer, I tell you I’d have an incredible amount of nice pictures that I’ve lost. I’m very happy with the digital process, I believe that on average it’s much better in quality than analogue. It involves less pollution, because we don’t release chemicals from developing paper or a negative into the water system. We don’t have any more problems with x-rays in airports, which became hell for photographers. And the results now are fabulous. I’m very very happy with the results.