The Serra Pelada gold mine by Sebastiao Salgado (1986)

The photograph titled “The Serra Pelada gold mine” was taken by the artist Sebastiao Salgado in Brazil, 1986. It captures the grueling conditions at the Serra Pelada gold mine, where a multitude of miners are densely packed together, climbing what appears to be a steep wooden lattice structure or ladders. All the individuals in the shot are engaged in manual labor, most of them shirtless and some carrying sacks on their backs, likely containing ore or earth extracted from the mine. The perspective is from above, looking down on the workers as they ascend and descend the structure, highlighting the scale of human toil and the sheer number of people intertwined in this laborious endeavor. The photograph is monochromatic, enhancing the dramatic impact of the scene and emphasizing the textures of mud and sweat on the bodies of the workers. This image is a powerful testament to the strenuous conditions faced by the laborers seeking fortune in the gold rush of the 1980s.

Other Photographs from Sebastiao Salgado

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