Photography is often a window into worlds we don't have the means to visit. Sebastião Salgado's series “Genesis," now on display in the Peter Fetterman Gallery at Santa Monica's Bergamot Station, takes this one step further with a breathtaking collection of black-and-white photographs so detailed, it feels as if you could reach out and touch the actual landscapes.
Inspired by a successful reforestation project on his family farm, Salgado set out to document regions and people that escaped the grasp of modernity. The collection – which is a celebration of these untouched corners - is a departure for the Brazilian born Salgado, best known for his photographs documenting displaced populations and large-scale industrial labor. It is also one of his most ambitious, as it required extensive research and eight years of travel to 32 regions around the globe.
The result is awe-inspiring. A castle-like iceberg captivates as it majestically slices across the cloudy Antarctic sky. A nomad camp in Siberia is captured at just the precise moment, leaving the onlooker convinced that they can hear the wind whipping across the snow. The hand of an iguana is photographed with such care that it seems as if you reached out and touched it you'd be able to feel the actual texture of its scales beneath your fingers.
Salgado's ability to almost trick the onlooker into thinking they are having more than just a visual experience is due, in part, to his talent for capturing minute details in even the most expansive landscapes: the beams of sunlight breaking through gray clouds, the soft roll of the ocean waves and the jagged nooks and crannies of a Colorado mountain range. On the flipside, several photographs in the collection also highlight how a single subject – a whale's tail cutting through water, the gaze of a Dinka man, an elephant making it's way through the jungle – can have just as great of an impact as a grand vista.
For interior designers and architects, “Genesis" is a must. It's a powerful reminder that sometimes less is more, that unfettered landscapes can still take an onlooker's breath away and that some of the most amazing structures in the world were created not by man, but by Mother Nature.
All Images © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas Images. Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery.
“Genesis" runs through Nov. 30, 2013 at The Peter Fetterman Gallery. For more information visit peterfetterman.com.