Sahara, South of Djanet, Algeria

2009
Silver Gelatin Photograph
48
x
65
in

Signed, titled and dated in pencil on the reverse of the flush-mount.


In Sahara, South of Djanet, Algeria, 2009, Sebastiao Salgado captures the eternal mystique and enigma of the desert. The photograph is akin to the romanticist painting of Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818. Salgado centers the piece around the vast expansiveness of the landscape. The individual in the foreground gazes into the landscape, reminding the viewer of nature’s capacity to open dimensions within yourself.

“At first impression, the Sahara seems lifeless. With golden sand dunes stretching as far as the eye can see, it suggests a hostile landscape unchanged since time immemorial. Yet this desert has had many lives. In fact, during my travels, it is one of the places where I felt closest to the distant past of wildlife and humanity.”

“So many times I’ve photographed stories that show the degradation of the planet. I had one idea to go and photograph the factories that were polluting, and to see all the deposits of garbage. But, in the end, I thought the only way to give us an incentive, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet – to see the innocence.”

In “Sahara,” the range of forms and the dynamic possibilities of black to white tonality, complete with soft mid-tones, make it a brilliant photograph. The picture is a meditation, becomes emblematic in Salgado’s discourse on the wonders and infinite possibilities of the natural world.