You travel all the way to St Andrews Bay, on the subantarctic island of South Georgia (human population: zero; access only by sea) as part of an eight-year landmark photography project documenting the parts of the planet untouched by modern society.
Everything’s set for an iconic shot of southern elephant seal pups. Then one of the little blighters hijacks the shot by turning around and giving the camera the full what-for. Kids, eh?
Photobombing seals were the least of photographer Sebastião Salgado’s concerns as he embarked on his expedition to capture the extraordinary landscapes, wildlife and people in the most remote parts of the world.
A plan to shoot on film was abandoned after Salgado’s work was in danger of being damaged by relentless scans at airport security checks. Undaunted, the 69-year-old Brazilian took to working with digital but on his terms, shooting blind (which may account for the seal hijack).
The jaw-dropping work published in the resulting Sebastião Salgado: Genesis saw him travel across the globe to photograph remote tribes in Ethiopia, icebergs on the Antarctic Peninsula and mountain ranges at the junction of the Grand Canyon National Park.
The book — designed and edited by Salgado’s wife Léila Wanick Salgado — comes in two formats, including a limited special collector’s edition, each set numbered and signed by Salgado himself.
Also, an exhibition runs at the National History Museum, London, until 8 September.
Sebastião Salgado Genesis is out now.