Born in Aimorés, Brazil in 1944. He lives and works between Brazil and France.

Following his studies at São Paulo University in Brazil and at Vanderbilt University in the United States, Sebastião Salgado worked with the International Coffee Organization for which he traveled extensively. It is during these trips that he started taking pictures, and in 1973, he left his job to begin a career in photography. He has never stopped travelling since. He partnered with photo agencies such as Sygma, Gamma, and Magnum Photos up until 1994, at which point he and his wife, Lélia Wanick Salgado, founded the Amazonas Images agency.

Since 2004, Salgado has been working on a new project entitled Genesis; a collection of black and white photographs of landscapes, fauna, flora, and communities who still live according to ancestral ways and traditions.

Sebastião Salgado is represented by Polka Gallery.