“I looked through a lens and ended up abandoning everything else.” – Sebastião Salgado.
The commitment to chasing the opportunity to do what makes you happy is rare and absent from the DNA of most people. The motivation to take on risk. Risk of going broke, risk of being embarrassed, risk of being forced to start over. Subjecting oneself to these possibilities with the outcome of reaping reward is unlikely. Against the odds, Sebastião Salgado followed his instinct and found his reward through the lens of a camera.
The Brazilian photojournalist is the subject of a new film, The Salt of the Earth, directed by Wim Wenders with his son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, acting as co-director. Rarely are the stories behind images told, especially while a photographer is still alive. In Salt of the Earth we are offered a first-hand glimpse into Mr. Salgado’s life, which spans from his native country of Brazil to his adopted home of France and – over a 40 year career – around the globe many times in between.
Trained as an economist, Mr. Salgado’s opinions of the world were forged through this lens while traveling the globe as a consultant, often visiting Africa on behalf of the World Bank. These experiences would have a large influence on his later work as a photographer. It wasn’t long before life as an economist grew old and while living in Paris he turned his back on the safety of a career and instead pursued his passion. Following an investment into expensive camera equipment, Mr. Salgado chased any opportunity that presented itself. Weddings, portraits, and newspaper work were all fair game as the emerging photographer found his focus. Within five years he joined the infamous team at Magnum Photos.
During his time at Magnum (25 years) and his subsequent departure to form his own photo agency (Amazonas Images) in 1994, Salgado would document some of world’s most challenging social issues and atrocities. War, famine, genocide, and workers in under developed countries were many of his subjects. Often times telling the stories that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Images of mine workers in Brazil (above) are among a series that include some of his most famous photographs. And while each photo’s subject offered the ability to create an image which evokes strong emotion, the scale and scope of these projects are equally as impressive. Mr. Salgado’s commitment would usually span years, producing self assigned projects The Other Americas, Sahel, Workers, and Migrations. Four years, six years, eight years are durations casually mentioned, leaving anyone to wonder how this could be possible.
Throughout the film, Mr. Salgado’s confident modesty and story telling is addictive. Over the course of his life and career as a photographer, he has seen and experienced more than most people will in ten lifetimes. Yet, while having experienced and lived among some of the mankind’s worst horrors for years at a time, he still possess a compassionate optimism. However, seeing the worst the world had to offer took its toll and caused Mr. Salgado to shift his focus towards work that didn’t involve death. His latest large-scale project, Genesis, explores uninterrupted nature and remote indigenous tribal communities. And as with its predecessors, Genesis would take eight years to complete and produce some of his most striking images to date.
On a personal note, this film strikes a chord. Having also left behind the safety net of a nine-to-five profession to explore what makes me happy, I understand the need for change as well as the impending risk vs. reward. It’s always motivating to see someone experience success doing what they love and what they’re meant to do. The Salt of the Earth is the purest expression of this point. Not only are the images and content truly striking and inspiring (and worth being viewed on the large screen), but the same can be said of the person behind the lens. Making his point clear, once you find out what it is you need to do, the only thing left is abandoning everything else.
Let’s face it, for most of us, running isn’t something we necessarily look forward to. Personally, I’ve really only wanted to run if chased and have just recently maintained a consistent running schedule – meaning more than twice a month. On top of the labor involved with something that’s suppose to offer betterment to your health, the clothing options aren’t very appealing and are often aesthetically challenged. Filled with bright-colored, overly tech heavy garments, the playing field for something you don’t mind wearing during exercise is sparse.
New England based Tracksmith is flipping the script on running apparel. Founded by a former collegiate runner and the co-founder of the popular British cycling company, Rapha, Tracksmith is combining both old & new to create something you actually wouldn’t mind wearing while working out. The clothing offers the perfect marriage between technology and comfort – think wicking, breathable fabrics – and attractive design. And while old school collegiate inspired run wear looks good, it also doesn’t hurt that those at the helm have decided to produce everything stateside, with factories in Mass and New York – well-played.
Check-out more at Tracksmith.
The last week has been ripe with activity from Basel World in Switzerland to SXSW in Austin to Architectural Digest’s Home Show here at home in New York. There’s been no shortage of things to keep you distracted as we welcome spring back into our lives. Here are a few items that caught our attention and for all other happenings connect with us on twitter, instagram, & tumblr.
The crew over at Fast Company gives us their taste of what’s good for the ear from SXSW.
The World’s Best Corporate Art Collections are sampled over at Forbes.
Scathing NY real estate Yelp reviews catch our attention at Curbed NY.
Seated on Chicago’s far north side in the Andersonville neighborhood, Brimfield is raising the bar locally for all things vintage. Consisting of mostly items for the home with a few wearables mixed-in, Brimfield has the bases covered. Vintage and antique stores are largely hit or miss. Sometimes determined by geography, most times by taste, the determination is typically one that’s easy. A city known for its great architecture, Chicago isn’t an obvious hot bed for vintage home goods.
Brimfield, which also shares its name with the super popular antique event in Brimfield, Mass., pulls no punches. Like the event in Massachusetts and unlike similar stores nearby, the selection offered at Brimfield has been thought out. The space is stacked floor to ceiling with inventory consisting of mostly mid-century finds that pay homage to the midwest. Fortunately it’s well contained and excellently merchandised, taking a lot of the leg work out of finding something good. And though there’s logic to the arrangement, you should still expect to dig around for that rare find you can’t leave without.
In total there is 4,000 square feet over three floors, with the third floor serving as a very well curated event space. While Andersonville may be a hike for some, it’s worth the trip. The surrounding neighborhood has plenty of other distractions alongside several stores with similar offerings, Brimfield the clear stand out amongst the group. Visit Brimfield at 5219 N. Clark Street, Chicago.
This was a great year, full of positive change and a lot of travel that took us all over the map (almost 90,000 miles according to my Delta skymiles account). Here are a few photos from the road, thanks for steadfast support and we’re looking forward to another excellent year with more change both here on TSE and elsewhere. Happy New Year.
While most people embrace the tradition of Thanksgiving and the annual get together, filled with food, football and gluttonous stomach cramps, we tend to embrace discounted international flights and businesses being open during America’s November holiday. Keeping up with traditions, the sights were set on Scotland for this year’s Thanksgiving abroad.
Having never visited England’s neighbor to the north we were eager to see & do as much as possible within a few days. The docket consisted of a short visit to the capital city, Edinburgh, followed by an exploratory loop through the Highlands and the Isle of Skye. The itinerary was ambitious to say the least, especially considering the highlands loop came along with a suggested two-week timetable. Paying no attention, we held the course.
Edinburgh is a confident city that doesn’t need to brag. Set around a hilltop castle that’s visible from nearly every vantage point within the city, the atmosphere is modest, organized and welcoming. It’s easy to feel out-of-place in foreign cities, while the exact opposite can be said of Edinburgh, where the balance of foreign and familiar run even keel. Naturally, a decent mix of good pubs are peppered throughout town, each offering a respectable selection of scotch and local fare. For some finer alternatives for both food and shopping (think: tartan, tweed and scotch), head south toward the National Museum.
While Edinburgh is easily one of the most visitable cities out there, the Highlands pull no punches and may very well be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Within an hour outside of Edinburgh, just past Glasgow, the real magic happens. The scenery is endless, untouched and in many ways, perfect. Changing with each turn, the landscape is rugged and unforgiving. Low hanging clouds cast endless shadows across miles of unpopulated land, less the occasional herd of sheep, farm or castle. After a day on the road and a ferry from Malliag you’re on Skye where similar to the mainland, nature calls the shots. Raw and barren, Skye seems almost fake. During the winter months, the light stands in a state of constant afternoon with the sun setting not long after lunch. The whole place is surreal.
After a week of walking and driving, it was clear why people recommended a stay of two weeks or more. Our traditional escape scratched the surface at best but offers the perfect segue into a return trip. The second round will afford a glimpse into all that was missed – textiles, scotch distilleries and a ride aboard the Royal Scotsman easily make the cut. Until next time.
If you go: We recommend staying at the Balmoral Hotel (Edinburgh), it’s central, efficient and has a good bar. On Skye, bed & breakfasts are the only real options and Tigh an Dochais tops the list. Blackfriars (Edinburgh) has a terrific menu that changes regularly. Drinks (Edinburgh), although it’s on the Royal Mile and comes with all things touristic, Deacon Brodies Tavern is great, on the nicer side, the bar at the Balmoral or The Scotsman will do just fine. In term of things to see, visit the castle in Edinburgh (it’s worth it), Dovecot Studios offers a first hand glimpse into all that goes into woven textiles and the Royal Museum (pictured) is well worth a stop. On Skye, visit the Talisker Distillery, it’s among the oldest in Scotland and the only one on Skye.
Although the states are far behind our European counterparts, the two-wheeled commute has taken hold stateside. Chicago is no exception with the amount of people traveling via bike increasing exponentially over the last few years.
Similar to a lot of cities across the country, both large and small, Chicago has taken hints and worked to endorse commuting by bike. Through the addition of bike lanes to the city’s expansive grid along with a fully functional bike share program, the windy city has fully embraced a greener commute. While this is just the start, and many will tell you it can be much better (more bike lanes, less pot holes), it’s eons ahead of where it was only a few short years ago. Today you’ll see more than bike messengers on the street navigating traffic.
Meeting the growing demand is Heritage General Store. Located on Chicago’s north side in Lakeview, Heritage subscribes to the program of doing things locally and doing them well. One part bike shop, one part coffee shop, similar to other places who blend the two, this marriage makes sense. Rooted to the neighborhood, the shop (both coffee and bike) is welcoming and offers a selection of cycling products and apparel on top of Stumptown brews. There is neither fuss nor pretension.
While the atmosphere is casual and comfortable, the bikes aren’t just for decoration. They’re meant to be ridden and are built to not only to survive city streets, but four seasons in Chicago, which is no joke. Fabricated further uptown, each bike uses American steel for the frame with all the final welding and assembly done locally. And while everything is done within a Chicago area code, they’re also fully customizable. Given the price point and purpose, this makes total sense for a city with an increasing cycling community.
Visit Heritage General Store at 2959 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Labor Day marks the official/unofficial end of the summer. It’s the last long weekend during the warmer months for most and a great excuse to get the hell out of dodge. Instead of firing up the BBQ and staying stateside we chose to head further afield, and make our way to the old country for a bit of respite.
After a brief stopover in Holland & Rome to visit some friends, we made landfall in the Sardinian capital city Cagliari. Porto Sa Ruxi, just outside of the small town of Villasimius would be our final stop and home base. Just steps to the super salinated Mediterranean and a short drive to civilization, it didn’t take long for our focus to turn to the really important things, sun, sleep and spritz.
A short flight from the Italian peninsula, Sardinia makes for a great alternative to the typical Mediterranean stopover. At roughly the same size as New Jersey, it’s a big island. This is a good thing. Sardinia’s size helps filter out the foreigners and locals alike. Add this size to the Italian pace of life and you’re almost forced to hit the brakes on life for a moment. Tiny seaside towns dot the coastline and make for good stopping points to take in some fresh fish and local wine or amaro (or both).