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A photographer without borders

Alain Ducasse admires Sebastião Salgado’s boundless curiosity

September/October 2015

Alain Ducasse, 58, is a Monégasque chef, with restaurants in Europe, Hong Kong, Japan and America and many Michelin stars to his name. Sebastião Salgado, 71, is a Brazilian documentary photographer; his most recent project, “Genesis”, concentrates on undisturbed nature

I don’t take photos myself, and I have never met Salgado, even though he now lives in Paris. But I do know his vision of the world: it is one of reality.

Some people contest the way Salgado interprets the world; they might challenge how much truth there is in his images of tribal people or of the harshness of war. But I believe there is truth in his photos, which always have a human spirit to them. Salgado allows us to discover the world, a world most of us don’t frequent and are not familiar with. And he does this with great curiosity and profundity. One has to be very curious to be behind the lens. With a photographer such as Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who takes photographs of Earth from the air, you see our planet as something almost alien. But with Salgado, we discover Earth from the earth. And he photographs everywhere – he does not stick to one singular subject or region, he satisfies his curiosity about the world at a global level.

As a chef, I try to combine a global vision with local expression: everywhere I go, I want to understand the men and women, and the land at their core. I like to look at the local details, the different vegetation, the products of the local markets. If I weren’t a chef, I would be a voyageur: I would choose to be an explorer or an observer of the world, because I’m so curious about what happens on this planet. That’s why I’m interested in Salgado: wherever he goes, he brings back stories that are difficult, and at the same time beautiful. It’s that duality in his work that fascinates me.

Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée; +33 1 5367 6665