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Nick Brandt - Behind the Photo: Elephant Drinking, Amboseli, 2007


photo-eye Gallery Nick Brandt - Behind the Photo: Elephant Drinking, Amboseli, 2007 In early May, Nick Brandt began posting the stories behind his beautiful and evocative portraits of African animals to his Facebook page. Brandt has graciously given us permission to reproduce them on photo-eye Blog. This week, Elephant Drinking, Amboseli, 2007.
In early May, Nick Brandt began posting the stories behind his beautiful and evocative portraits of African animals to his Facebook page. Brandt has graciously given us permission to reproduce them on photo-eye Blog.

Elephant Drinking, Amboseli, 2007 — Nick Brandt

"His name was Igor (as named at birth by Cynthia Moss of Amboseli Elephant Research). For forty-nine years, he wandered the plains of the Amboseli ecosystem in East Africa. A gentle soul like most elephants, he was so relaxed that in 2007, he allowed me to come within a few feet of him to take his portrait.

Two years later, it was perhaps this level of trust that allowed poachers to get close enough to kill him and hack out the tusks from his face.

And so it was that in late 2010, Igor became the unfortunate poster child of Big Life Foundation, the organization that I co-founded to help protect and preserve the widl animals of East Africa, and Igor's home, the Amboseli ecosystem, Big Life's pilot initiative project. (To learn more about Big Life, please go to www.biglife.org.)

In terms of the technical side of the photo, as many of you know I only shoot medium format black and white film on a Pentax 67II without zoom or telephoto lenses. I have overheard people looking at this print, saying they are convinced that I shot the photo in a studio. It's actually this quality that I like about the photo. When I first viewed the contact sheet, I thought that the background looked like a scenic backdrop on a sound stage, with Igor lit by a soft spotlight off to one side.
"—Nick Brandt





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