Severin is a community manager at EyeEm. He originally published this post onMedium after attending a lecture by Sebastião Salgado in London.
Last weekend at Photo London I had the chance to attend a lecture withSebastião Salgado. Leo Johnson interviewed the 71-year old photographer about his life and work. In the Q&A that followed, a young student, probably around 21 years old, asked what he would recommend to a young photographer to start his career today. And Salgado answered:
“If you’re young and have the time, go and study. Study anthropology, sociology, economy, geopolitics. Study so that you’re actually able to understand what you’re photographing. What you can photograph and what you should photograph.”
I found this answer very interesting. Many photographers have an answer to that question, and I myself have asked it many times. The most common answer I heard was “Just go out there and shoot” or “Study the masters of photography” or “Practice, practice, practice”. But none of these photographers talked about going to university and studying economics. So what does Salgado mean by that?