Archive for April 12th, 2022

Sebastaio Salgado Serra Pelada Gold Mine 1986 1

“We are animals, born from the land with the other species. Since we’ve been living in cities, we’ve become more and more stupid, not smarter. What made us survive all these hundreds of thousands of years is our spirituality; the link to our land.”

– Sebastiao Salgado

This post came about in a weird way this morning. I was up earlier than normal and without much enthusiasm for writing a blog post, took a look at YouTube. I came across a new Jack White song, Fear of the Dawn, which was a loud, driving piece. The video for it was kind of modern expressionistic with a claustrophobic feel. But the part that struck me was that I realized after a few minutes that much of the sound was being produced by a what looked to be a modern theremin.

You know the theremin, that strange electronic device that produced the weird soaring sounds from 1950’s horror movies by the player simply moving their hands near two protruding metal rods. Turns out the device in the Jack White video was a modern theremin, the Moog Theremini. This, in turn, sent me to a video of a theremin musician, Caroline Eyck, playing her version of The Ecstasy of Gold composed by Ennio Morricone for the movie The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

It was sort of mesmerizing and it made me think of the incredible photos from photographer Sebastiao Selgado of workers in the gold mines of Brazil. I went back to a post from several years ago to look at them and decided that they were worth repeating today.

Funny how one thing often leads to another. Here’s the post and photos with the Caroline Eyck video of The Ecstasy of Gold below it.

I featured the photos of the Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado here several years back. Originally an economist, Salgado took up photography in his thirties and embarked on an epic journey to document the great beauty and darkness the of this world, photographing grand vistas and wildlife along with refugees fleeing genocide and workers in the grimmest of conditions. He does so in a wondrous fashion that has a way of connecting us in the present day to all the ages that came before.

This feeling of connection definitely hits me every time I come across his photos of the gold miners in Brazil, taken in 1986 and included in his 2005 book, Workers: An Archaeology of the Industrial Age. I love this title. The work has that archaeological feel, like artifacts that will stand as lasting images of our time here on Earth.

These images feel absolutely biblical to me. It takes away any doubt I may have previously held about how man created the ancient wonders that still stand today. The workers shown may be contemporary miners, but they could just as easily be slaves in the age of the Egyptian pharaohs.

Or lost souls trapped in one of the circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno.

If you get a chance, please take a look at some of Salgado’s work. It is amazing imagery and truly human in every sense of the word.

Sebastaio Salgado Serra Pelada Gold Mine 1986 2

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