Sebastiao Salgado was born in Brazil in 1944. He studied economics at Sao Paulo University but moved to France after the military coup in Brazil in 1964. After completing an economics PhD at the Sorbonne he began working for an international coffee consortium.
Salgado purchased his first camera in 1970. His first picture was of his wife, Lelia Wanick. He then started taking photographs in Africa while visiting coffee plantations.
After leaving the international coffee consortium Salgado worked as a freelance photographer for the World Council of Churches, aid agencies and various magazines. A Marxist, Salgado claims he is a reporter rather than an artist. In one interview he commented: "It's not my intention to give people guilty consciences, just to make them think."
Books by Salgado include Other Americas (1989), Workers: An Archaeology of the Industrial Age (1993), Terra (1997), The Children: Refugees and Migrants (2000) and Migrations: Humanity in Transition (2000).