Having visited Sebastião Salgado Genesis exhibition at the Natural History Museum and was mightily impressed I want to understand his approach to post processing. A friend sent me a TED presentation by Sebastião yesterday and I thought I would have a go.

The thing the exhibition gets over so strongly is a narrative that is somehow enhanced by the processing. At the exhibition I wondered whether it was strong processing of digital or was mild processing of a scanned 400 ISO black and white film – I used to use Ilford HP5 Plus 400 and came to conclusion it was film mostly due to the grain pattern. Mistake! Onlandscape came to the rescue and explained it was digital images processed with DXO plugin with the aim of regaining the look of Kodak Tri-X. The style is one of strong contrast, dodge and burn, grain, use of lead lines especially diagonals. The few negatives are some of the images aren’t as ‘sharp’ as they should in key places, one or two are over processed and my main irritant is sloppy horizon angles.

I don’t have DXO but I do use Silver Efex Pro. So I have taken a few of my recent images and I used the ‘film type’ Tri-X then added a little local and global adjustments mostly on ‘contrast’ and ‘structure’, occasionally used an orange filter then added a little ‘vignette’. Hope you find them interesting – listen to the TED, go to the exhibition and get the book it is amazing.

Just to be clear the images below are mine in a Sebastião style 😉

Himba Woman in Hut

Sanddunes at Gruinard Bay
Bamburgh Castle
Leopard in Namibia
Himba Woman and Hut
Himba Women in Namibia

Lightning at Twilight in Etosha National Park Namibia
Himba woman putting otjize on in Namibia
Papua New Guinea Bride in a style of Sebastiao Salgado by Ian Purves 1983

Scavaig River going into Loch Scavaig
Sheep at Mellon Udrigal
Star Field and Northern Lights over Cullins in Skye from Elgol
Six Zebra drinking in Etosha National Park, Namibia
Himba Child

Papua New Guinea 'War' in a style of Sebastiao Salgado by Ian Purves 1983

Papua New Guinea Man in a style of Sebastiao Salgado by Ian Purves 1983

Dune 45 in Sossusvlei Namibia in a style of Sebastiao Salgado by Ian Purves 1983

Sunset at Spitzkoppe in Namibia

On a final note as you leave the exhibition Lélia and Sebastião have placed a call to action that mirrors his presentation at TED. In one word everyone has a responsibility for reforestation.

Sebastiao Salgado - Call to Arms

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