Full view of the Serra Pelada gold mine by Sebastiao Salgado (1986)

The photograph “Full view of the Serra Pelada gold mine” was captured by the artist Sebastiao Salgado in Brazil in 1986. The image depicts a vast, open-pit gold mine teeming with human activity. The Serra Pelada was a large gold mine in Brazil, and Salgado’s photo conveys the sheer scale and intense labor involved in the mining process during that period.

In the image, countless individuals appear as small figures against the immense backdrop of the excavated earth. The scene is packed with workers, many of whom seem to be climbing up and down makeshift ladders that crisscross the pit walls. These ladders are densely populated, creating patterns that resemble a human fabric woven into the structure of the pit. The ground is scattered with workers engaged in various tasks, and the environment is devoid of any substantial machinery, indicating that the mining work is being done manually. The top edges of the mine are lined with more onlookers or workers, further emphasizing the scale of the operation. The photograph, rendered in monochrome, enhances the dramatic and gritty essence of the labor-intensive mining operation.

Other Photographs from Sebastiao Salgado

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