I watched a Ted Talk featuring Sebastião Salgado this past weekend. Salgado is a well know Brazilian photographer who only really picked up a camera in his 30’s, having first obtained a PhD in economics and worked at an investment bank. He told his very personal story about how after photographing the atrocities in Rwanda, he became incredibly sick. Upon seeing his doctor in Paris it was discovered that his own staphylococcus was attacking his body and he became riddled with infections. His doctor made the diagnosis that he was dying due to all the brutality he had witnessed and he advised him to stop his photography. He then returned to his native country of Brazil and started to restore the areas of his parents farm which had been decimated by deforestation. Gradually he and his wife restored the ecosystem that had been destroyed and in 2004 he felt the urge to pick up his camera once again, this time to photograph landscapes and nature. A very inspiring talk indeed and well worth the viewing.
Lecture, Sebastião Salgado – The silent drama of photography [webcast, online] TED2013, February 2013 · 16 mins 53 secs. http://www.ted.com/talks/sebastiao_salgado_the_silent_drama_of_photography (accessed 12 July, 2014)