Opening in select theaters today for Academy Awards consideration, The Salt of the Earth centers on the remarkable and inspiring life of Sebastião Salgado, a social photographer who has traveled the world documenting different aspects of humanity.
Filmmaker Wim Wenders had been an admirer of Salgado’s work for over 25 years (two of Salgado’s prints hang over Wenders’ desk), and his inspiration for the documentary took flight when he visited the photographer’s studio and checked out his latest project “Genesis” (the exhibition runs at the International Center of Photography through January 15).
Wenders joined Salgado and his son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado on a photographic excursion, and eventually the filmmaker and Juliano teamed up as co-directors for The Salt of the Earth.
During my interview with Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the pair talked about the “genesis” of the documentary and how the narrative took a different creative shape in the editing room. For Wenders, The Salt of the Earth goes beyond Salgado’s pictures.
“I must admit, for a long time, I thought we were making a movie about a photographer and only slowly it dawned on me that this was a bigger thing. We were touching on something that surpassed (it being) a film about a photographer. His life was about so much more.”