Picks and Pans Review: Other Americas

updated 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Sebastião Salgado

On the cover is a photograph of two boys sitting on a rock with cacti and mountains in the background. They have on soldier's caps and their hands are held calmly between their legs. They look at the photographer—and at us—with black-pupiled, big eyes, eyes that reflect sadness and poverty. Salgado, a Brazilian who now lives in Paris, took these photographs in six Latin American countries over a seven-year period. The first picture in the book is of a woman lying on a bed. Sheer curtains and a life-size statue of Jesus hover above her. It is a surreal, disturbing image, as are many in this volume. A mother and gleeful child wait in profound loneliness on a curving railroad track in gray Bolivia. On a hillside, a woman with a primitive digging tool and a man with two oxen plow the earth; the title is "Mexico 1980," yet the scene might have taken place centuries ago. Clearly the gap between North and South America continues to widen. Salgado's disturbing photographs—in one, Brazilian children compete for food with vultures in a garbage dump—make that all too apparent. (Pantheon, $35, paper, $19.95)

From Our Partners