I just finished watching the documentary "Salt of the Earth" which follows the life and work of the great social photographer Sebastiao Salgado. I watched the movie, then I watched his tedtalk, and then I spent an enormous amount of time on-line looking at his photographs. His images hold so much energy that they radiate life even while they capture death. They are beautiful and heartbreaking. They are devastating and yet they elicit a sense of empathy which can lead to hope.
I found Sebastian's life story to be a remarkable reflection of his own photographs. In both the movie and in his tedtalk he speaks about his time in Rwanda and how what he witnessed there caused him to lose faith in humanity. He felt he was dying from the devastation of his own work and yet he managed to transform his life through the creation of life- by planting an entire rainforest. It was his shift in focus from human darkness to natures life-giving potential that revived his soul. His photographs, like his own personal story, overflow with the forces of life and death, hope and hopelessness, loss and redemption.
Here is a link to his tedtalk but I also highly recommend the movie which can be found on netflicks.