Above: Lions Head to Head, Masai Mara, 2008
It was this beautiful and extraordinarily intimate photograph of a pair of loving lions which first introduced me to the work of wildlife photographer Nick Brandt last year.
In 1995 British photographer Nick Brandt (then, a music video director) directed Michael Jackson’s 'Earth Song' in Tanzania and he immediately, rather understandably, fell in love with East Africa and its majestic animals. In 2000, Brandt embarked upon an ambitious photographic project; a trilogy of books immortalizing these animals and the vanishing natural grandeur of East Africa – up close, and very personally.
With a combination of dramatic panoramas of animals featured within epic landscapes alongside more soulful, graphic portraits, Nick Brandt manages to find an intimate connection with his wild subjects that reveal personalities and relationships far more so than any other wildlife photography I have ever seen. The titles of the trilogy of books will eventually be revealed to form one consecutive sentence: 'On This Earth, A Shadow Falls.....' (the final installment is due for publication in 2013.)
“What I am interested in is showing the animals simply in the state of Being. In the state of Being before they are no longer are. Before, in the wild at least, they cease to exist. This world is under terrible threat, all of it caused by us. To me, every creature, human or nonhuman, has an equal right to live, and this feeling, this belief that every animal and I are equal, affects me every time I frame an animal in my camera. The photos are my elegy to these beautiful creatures, to this wrenchingly beautiful world that is steadily, tragically vanishing before our eyes.”
Above Right: Elephant With Exploading Dust, Amboseli, 2004
In 2010, in urgent response to the escalation of poaching in Africa due to increased demand from the Far East (raw ivory fetches up to $800 per kg and rhino horn is worth more per ounce than gold dust) Nick Brandt founded the non-profit organization called Big Life Foundation. With donations, the organisation has placed multiple fully equipped teams of 120 anti-poaching rangers in both Kenya and Tanzania, who collaborate with communities to reduce poaching and conflicts between farmers and wildlife.
Above: Windswept Lion, Serengeti, 2002
Above: Elephants Walking Through Grass, Amboseli 2008
(Leading Matriarch Killed By Poachers, 2009)
Above: Hippos On The Mara River, Masai Mara, 2002
Above: Rhino on Lake, Nakuru, 2007
Above: Giraffes In Evening Light, Masai Mara, 2006
Above: Leopard In Crook Of Tree, Nakuru, 2007
Below: Nick Brandt's next exhibition, in New York from March 29th: