A community above Chimborazo by Sebastiao Salgado (1982)

The photograph titled “A community above Chimborazo” was taken by SebastiĆ£o Salgado in Ecuador in the year 1982. It captures a scene that seems to depict the rustic and perhaps challenging life of the local inhabitants.

In the photograph, there are four individuals, likely members of a local community living in the highlands of Ecuador, near Chimborazo Volcano. Starting from the left, a young child stands in the foreground, partially wrapped in a traditional blanket, looking directly towards the camera with an expression that is difficult to interpret but might be described as a mix of curiosity and reservation. Behind the child, an adult figure, possibly female, stands gatekeeping the entrance to what could be a field or a compound, judging from the rough wooden gate which is ajar. Her face is partially obscured, but her attitude seems watchful and protective. To her right, slightly behind, stands another child, gripping the gate, peering over it with an inquisitive gaze.

The environment they are situated in appears bleak and windy; the grassy land is rough and there seem to be no trees in sight, just sparse vegetation that suggests a high altitude ecosystem where living conditions might be harsh. The clothing worn by the figures is heavy and traditional, which could inform viewers about the local customs and the need for protection against the elements. Also noticeable is the construction of the gate and the fence, which is fairly primitive, hinting at a rural setting with limited resources.

The black and white composition of the photograph emphasizes the starkness of the terrain and the simple lifestyle of the subjects, and there’s a strong sense of place and cultural heritage evoked by the image, which is consistent with SebastiĆ£o Salgado’s well-known approach to documenting human conditions around the world.

Other Photographs from Sebastiao Salgado

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