What we see are not only fellow humans in their heart-breaking yet heroic struggle to better their lives, but also Sebastião Salgado’s struggle to improve their circumstances.
At the end of the 1960s, a young couple, Salgado, then an economics student with left-wing sympathies, and his wife Lélia Wanick Salgado fled the political oppression marring Brazil. At the beginning of the 1980s, his attempts to return to his native country and his requests to visit Serra Pelada to document what was happening at the mine were heavily opposed by the military regime. Eventually, however, they granted him permission in 1986. This was then the world’s largest open gold deposit, located in the midst of the hot and inhospitable jungle, 430 km from the Amazon, and it attracted 52,000 gold prospectors, many of whom had to endure inhumane working conditions in the hopes of realizing the dream of a better life for both themselves and their families.