on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

End Frame: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, USA, 2009 by Sebastiao Salgado

Bill Ward chooses one of his favourite images

Bill Ward

Bill Ward is an actor and photographer. Born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he lives with his family in Bristol. He was awarded the inaugural Adobe prize at LPOTY 2015 for his photograph “Rainbow Falls”.


I first came across the work of Sebastiao Salgado in the summer of 2013, when posters for his exhibition “Genesis” at the Natural History Museum started popping up across London. Relatively new to landscape photography myself, I had started taking pictures towards the back end of 2009, and had very little experience of the landscape world: I'd been to and thoroughly enjoyed a couple of Joe Cornish's exhibitions, one of Ansel Adams, and had started reading the books of another British photographer I'd just come across called David Ward. Freeman Patterson was on my radar, although not on my bookshelf. But Salgado? Who was this Spanish sounding Landscape Photographer of whom I had never heard? I hurried to the Natural History Museum to find out...

What I saw there absolutely, totally and quite categorically blew me away. Salgado's photographs were on a scale and magnitude I'd never experienced before. It wasn't just the scope of the “Genesis” project that astonished me (32 countries, over 8 years - that's 4 two month trips a year – and a total of over 200 photographs) but the daring of it. “Genesis” was conceived as a “celebration of life... a love letter to earth and the resilience of nature”, a remarkable attempt to chronicle and observe the landscape, the animals, the places and the peoples of Planet Earth as they were at the beginning of time (Salgado estimates that approx 46% of the planet remains as it was at the time of creation). 

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