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Sebastião Salgado is awarded the Ithaca Prize for his career as a photojournalist

Photographer Sebastião Salgado referred to his work with indigenous people to reflect upon the wisdom humanity has gained over thousands of years, a subject he spoke about at the event in which he was awarded the Ithaca Prize, conferred onto him by the UAB Communication and Education Bureau and the master's degree in Travel Journalism.


Sebastião Salgado spoke on his work as a photojournalist at the event held on 20 October, in which he was awarded this year's Ithaca Prize. The award, conferred by the UAB Communication and Education Bureau and the master's degree in Travel Journalism of the Department of Journalism and Communication Studies, acknowledges the professional trajectory of one of today's most renowned photojournalists.

Salgado expressed the "pleasure" of being able to speak in front of university students, whom he encouraged to make use of their academic years to turn into good professionals. He referred to photographing indigenous populations of the island of Sumatra and the Amazon in Brazil to reflect upon us "being the result of thousands of years of wisdom" and considering that "we have the privilege of being able to contact with our past" and verifying that "everything we know, we knew 10,000 and 50,000 years ago". With regards to the present of humanity, Salgado believes that "there is no future without the heredity of our past".

During the questions session, Salgado also spoke on his works, especially those forming part of the Genesis project (which will be on display at the Caixafòrum in Barcelona starting on 23 October): "All photographs represent a second in time, but this second includes my entire life, and 50,000 years of civilisation".

During the presentation, Josep Maria Català, Dean of the Faculty of Communication Studies, pointed out the "emotion" Salgado's photographs transmit: "Through these emotions we build an aesthetic and an informative view on our reality". José Manuel Pérez Tornero, Director of the UAB Communication and Education Bureau, praised the "goodness" transmitted in Salgado's works and stated that "in all his photographs, Salgado defends human dignity".

The previous winner of the Ithaca Prize, Miguel de la Quadra-Salcedo, Director of the Ruta Quetzal BBVA, was not able to attend the ceremony, but was present at the event thanks to a video he sent to Salgado; The coordinator of the Ruta Quetzal BBVA, Rocío Gayarre, did attend and transmitted tot he audience a reflection made by De la Quadra-Salcedo: "The journey is life, and life is a continuous and never-ending trail."

Economist Turns Photographer

Sebastião Salgado (Aimorés, Brazil, 1944) graduated as an economist after studying in Brazil and Paris. After years working as an economist in Brazil and in the UK, in 1973 he decided to become a freelance photographer and would later go on to work for the agencies Sygma, Gamma and Magnum. In 1994 he founded his own agency, Amazonas Images.

Salgado has travelled around the world on assignments related to the integration of immigrants into European societies, the cultural resistance of indigenous people in Latin America, the conditions of life in the suburbs of Paris, the effects of drought in the Sahel, the transformation production demands have on manual labour, the global campaign to eradicate polio carried out by the WHO and UNICEF, etc.

His works, in addition to appearing in the mass media, have been published in books such as Other Americas, Workers, Terra, Migrations, Africa and Genesis. His works have also been on display in exhibits around the world. Salgado has also been awarded several prizes, such as the World Press Photo Award, the Prince of Asturias Awards in the Arts category, the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography and the Journalist of the Year Award by the International Centre of Photography, New York.

More information: Communication and Education Bureau
Master's Degree in Travel Journalism (Spanish, Onsite)