Young fan meets Salgado: Dream comes true for striving photographer

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

A dream came true for Kiley Hart, a 17-year-old aspiring photographer from Los Angeles, when she met her idol and inspiration, Sebastio Salgado, on Thursday afternoon.

Hart, a high school senior, met Salgado before his compelling performance in “An Evening of Conscience” at Kingsbury Hall. Although Hart has followed Salgado’s work since she was in fifth grade, she has only dreamed of meeting him in person.

Hart’s family surprised her with a flight to Salt Lake City and tickets to Salgado’s exhibit and show as a combination birthday, graduation and Christmas present.

“I had been thinking about what I’d say to him for hours, days, if not weeks,” Hart said. “It’s just very overwhelming and nerve-wrecking because he means so much to me.”

Hart’s mother, Wendy Hart, came along to meet Salgado because she knew this was going to be an experience that would change her daughter’s life.

“Her love for Salgado started the moment she picked up a camera,” Wendy Hart said. “His job is the one that she dreams to be doing someday.”

Whitney Shingleton, volunteer developer at The Leonardo where Salgado’s photographs are being displayed, was the primary planner of the meeting.

“Helping to fulfill a dream for someone has been an amazing and touching experience. I hope that it sends a message to other students who are looking for inspiration,” Shingleton said.

Although the meeting was cut short because of Salgado’s busy schedule, it turned out to be a lasting experience for the young photographer.

“This whole experience has been really moving,” Kiley Hart said. “Salgado is a role model of what I can and hope to do for the rest of my life.”

During their meeting, Salgado gave his young fan advice from his career in photography. He explained to her the misconceptions and problems behind issue-related photography.

“Most people think that you can’t be both an artist and a political activist, but it’s our job to prove them different,” Salgado said.

“It’s truly refreshing to meet people who understand the power of helping others. It’s so hard for so many people, especially teenagers, to understand that,” Kiley Hart said.

[email protected]