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Coffee pickers. Finca La Hilda on the slopes of Poás Volcano, San José region, Costa Rica (2013) | © Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas images. Reproduction courtesy of 'Parfum de Rêve'/'Scent of a Dream'
Coffee pickers. Finca La Hilda on the slopes of Poás Volcano, San José region, Costa Rica (2013) | © Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas images. Reproduction courtesy of 'Parfum de Rêve'/'Scent of a Dream'
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Salon de la Photo 2017: the Unblemished Faces of Humanity

Picture of Jade Cuttle
Updated: 25 September 2017
Salon de la Photo 2017 opens its doors in Paris in November. This year, the exhibition spotlights the stunning work of Sebastião Salgado, a photographer who takes us on an epic world tour, chasing the unblemished beauty of life in remote coffee plantations.

Salon de la Photo 2017 in Paris is gearing up to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Across five days, a deluge of photography professionals, amateurs, and the general public will meet and share their passion for photography.

The programme includes rendezvous with well-known photography professionals, celebrities, a large number of activities and workshops, conferences on the different aspects of photography, a library, and the opportunity to buy and sell work.

The event has a track record of attracting over 85,000 visitors a year. And this time round, it promises two stunning exhibitions that spotlight one of the greatest figures of contemporary photography, Sebastião Salgado.

Coffee picker. Shangri La estate, Rift Valley, slopes of Ngorongoro crater. Tanzania (2014)
Coffee picker. Shangri La estate, Rift Valley, slopes of Ngorongoro crater. Tanzania (2014) | © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas images Reproduction autorisée pour l’illustration de l’exposition « Parfum de Rêve » / « Scent of a Dream »

His powerful black-and-white images have conquered the hearts of the international photography community since the 1970s, with exhibitions like La main de l’homme (The Hand of Man), Exodus and more recently Genesis sending him sailing round the world.

Selecting coffee cherries. Shangri La coffee estate, Rift Valley, slopes of Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania (2014)
Selecting coffee cherries. Shangri La coffee estate, Rift Valley, slopes of Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania (2014) | © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas images Reproduction autorisée pour l’illustration de l’exposition « Parfum de Rêve » / « Scent of a Dream »

His work offers an exciting glimpse into some of the remote locations across the globe. From the hidden Mengnai village in the Baoshan District of China (Yunnan province), to the slopes of the Poás Volcano in the San José region of Costa Rica, and the hidden corners of the Amazon rainforest.

Coffee and rice village of Bokin. Coffee area around Rantepao, Turaja mountain area, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia (2014)
Coffee and rice village of Bokin. Coffee area around Rantepao, Turaja mountain area, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia (2014) | © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas images Reproduction autorisée pour l’illustration de l’exposition « Parfum de Rêve » / « Scent of a Dream »

It was in 2002, when Sebastião Salgado came into contact with illycaffè – the world-famous coffee company based in Trieste, that the project called Perfume de Rêve (Scent of a Dream) began. The work charts a journey through coffee-producing countries based on a shared value of sustainable development, a principle concern for both parties.

Mengnai village. Baoshan District, Yunnan province, China (2012)
Mengnai village. Baoshan District, Yunnan province, China (2012) | © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas images Reproduction autorisée pour l’illustration de l’exposition « Parfum de Rêve » / « Scent of a Dream »

During this trip, Salgado managed to use the piercing power of his black-and-white images to celebrate the daily life of the people working on the plantations. He captures their unblemished beauty – a rustic and traditional lifestyle, at one with the earth – in the land where these precious grains of coffee are grown and harvested.

Coffee pickers. Finca La Hilda on the slopes of Poás Volcano, San José region, Costa Rica (2013)
Coffee pickers. Finca La Hilda on the slopes of Poás Volcano, San José region, Costa Rica (2013) | © Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas images. Reproduction courtesy of 'Parfum de Rêve'/'Scent of a Dream'

The collection has been built up over years, image by image, documenting life in the ten countries where illycaffè buys its coffee: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Colombia, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Tanzania. It’s special in that it gives a unique and authentic insight into the life behind the product that advertising doesn’t usually share.

Salon de la Photo 2017 opens on November 9, at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, and runs until November 13.