The refuge crisis, humanity in flight, as reported by Sebastiao Salgado

The refuge crisis, humanity in flight, as reported by Sebastiao Salgado

Robert Tanitch reviews two books

EXODUS by Sebastiao Salgado (Taschen £44.99). This new and timely edition, in its compassion, is overwhelming. 16 years on things have got much worse. Salgado, the great Brazilian photographer and photojournalist, famous for his social documentaries, has been working for UNOCEF and reporting and recording on human tragedies – poverty, natural disasters, violence and war – in over 35 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Migration is at an all-time high with more and more people desperately fleeing dictatorship, civil war and starvation. These stark and disturbing black and white photographs of individuals in close-up and seething masses of exiles, migrants and refugees, in awesome landscapes and shanty towns, are “a rallying cry for action beyond compassion.”The photographs are accompanied by a detailed commentary.

EGYPT People Gods Pharaohs by Rose-Marie & Rainer Hagen (Taschen). A record of everyday life in Ancient Egypt: what career would you have liked to have had, had lived then? Farmer? Part-time priest? Scribe? (writing was highly regarded) Tomb worker?  Civil servant?  The architecture, the pyramids (how did they do it?) the art work (stylized and symbolic), the tombs, the awesome monuments, the murals (so colourful and fresh), the hieroglyphics, the sculpture (the timeless beauty of Nefertiti), the order and symmetry, all are amazingly vivid. This social history, richly illustrated, is a pleasure to dip into.

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