Images of Africa’s Legacy February 6, 2014  |  By Admin

Nick Brandt, Elephant Ghost World, 2007. Promised Gift of Lynn and Foster Friess, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Nick Brandt.

Upon entering Nick Brandt’s exhibit “Elegy” the first reaction you hear from visitors is one of complete awe and admiration. As you walk in you immediately notice the series of portraits that line the wall. They command your attention. A male lion poised like royalty, a curious kudzu, a zebra foal full of innocence, and a lioness quietly glowing with strength. Nick Brandt doesn’t want you to become a tourist in the lives of these animals; he wants you to feel their souls. The photograph of the elephant herd accompanied by a baby calf being sheltered by her mother evoke emotions of familiarity, like looking at a family portrait. The way the calf seems to stand out from the rest of the family shadows the inevitable fate that future generations of elephants face. A photograph of a massive herd being led by the matriarch shows the power in numbers. However, everyday those numbers are dwindling and soon these majestic creatures will disappear.

Nick Brandt Elephant Drinking

Nick Brandt, Elephant Drinking, 2007. Promised Gift of Lynn and Foster Friess, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Nick Brandt.

According to The Wildlife Conservation Society, ninety-six elephants are killed every day by poaching. Their tusks are trafficked to countries in Asia and places like New York City to be sold as luxury items. The fate of this species is immortalized in the picture of Igor, a male elephant shown drinking from a pond. Igor was 46 years old when he was killed by poachers, two years after the photograph was taken. Brandt’s photography aims not only to shed light on where the future of these species rests, but to capture these animals as they were meant to live.

Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way. – John Muir

To learn more about Nick Brandt’s conservation efforts visit:

-Rachel Morris

AmeriCorps Intern

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