Economist-turned-artist Sebastião Salgado began his photography practice after his finance role with the International Coffee Organization and the World Bank led him to travel to tea plantations in Africa. Inspired by the people he photographed during his trips, Salgado quit his finance job to continue traveling and photographing the rest of the world and its inhabitants. His works highlight global issues relating to nature, workers, and the human condition, and while he believes that his photographs alone will not be able to change the world, he uses them as a vehicle for awareness coupled with larger movements for action.

Salgado has been an active photographer with Gamma Photographic Agency, Magnum Photos, and Amazonas Images, an agency founded by he and his wife to represent his photography. Salgado has also worked with Doctors Without Borders to produce two books, as well as exhibitions staged with the specific purpose of supporting the organization's work. Through his own travels, the artist has published numerous books including the series Migrations and Portraits of Children of the Migration. This project motivated exhibitions and educational programs within community centers across the globe that told the stories of the work's subjects and their journey from the countryside to the city.

Due to his work's humanitarian and environmental focus, Salgado was named a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from a number of universities. He is currently an honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Salgado continues to travel around the world on photographic expeditions.