The Big Picture x 4

3 Sep
On This Earth by Nick Brandt

On This Earth by Nick Brandt

Nick Brandt began a decade long photographic project in 2001, creating three magnificent books (On This Earth, A Shadow Falls and Across A Ravaged Land), memorializing an East Africa environment whose existence was rapidly receding to non-existence. These three tomes, collected with majestic and poignant images, some of the world’s last great populations of large mammals—elephants, giraffes, lions, and gorillas in large-format, well reproduced editions.

A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt

A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt

In A Shadow Falls, features fifty-eight images, in oversized tritone plates, capturing wide-screen panoramas of animals and landscapes of Africa previously rarely seen. As the book’s accompanying notes observe, “In years to come, we will look back at these powerful photographs and wonder why humanity did not do more to preserve this rare corner of earthly paradise.”

Brandt explains:

I’m not interested in creating work that is simply documentary or filled with action and drama, which has been the norm in the photography of animals in the wild. 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.

Across the Ravaged Land by Nick Brandt

Across the Ravaged Land by Nick Brandt

Across the Ravaged Land is the third volume in Nick Brandt’s trilogy of books documenting the decline of eastern African fauna. Among new themes Brandt introduces in this profoundly dystopic landscape is the appearance of its greatest enemy, homo sapiens.


On this Earth, A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt

On this Earth, A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt

Now comes On This Earth, A Shadow Falls which draws on the most memorable images from Brandt’s first two books, along with essays by philosopher and animal liberation activist Peter Singer and photohistorian Vickie Goldberg.The new volume as the publisher points out is the first of… “Brandt’s work to capture the superb quality of his remarkable, large-format prints, which are notable for their velvety blacks and tonal subtleties. At 15 x 13 inches it is substantially larger than his previous books…”







You may be interested in Big Life Big Life Foundation was founded by photographer Nick Brandt & conservationist Richard Bonham in September 2010. With Richard Bonham as Director of Operations for Big Life in Africa, and Project Manager Damian Bell in Tanzania, Big Life has now expanded to employ 315 rangers, with 31 outposts and 15 vehicles protecting 2 million acres of wilderness in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem of E. Africa.Big Life was the first organization in East Africa with co-ordinated cross-border anti-poaching operations.

As of July 2013, Big Life’s rangers have made 1,030 arrests and confiscated 3,012 weapons/poaching tools since November 2010. Recognizing that sustainable conservation can only be achieved through a community-based collaborative approach, Big Life uses innovative conservation strategies to address the greatest threats, reduce the loss of wildlife to poaching, defeat the ivory trade, mitigate human-wildlife conflict, protect the great predators, and manage scarce and fragile natural resources.

Big Life’s vision is to take the successful holistic conservation model in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem and replicate it across the African continent.


Currently reading Cuba in Splinters: Eleven Stories From The New Cuba edited by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo (OR Books)

One Response to “The Big Picture x 4”

  1. Susan Campisi September 4, 2014 at 4:09 am #

    Nick Brandt’s work is brilliant. Thank you for writing about it. Have you heard the story of Qumquat? It’s devastating. One of Amboseli’s best known matriarchs. Nick Brandt took a photo of her and a few of her herd in October 2012 and the next day she was killed.
    On October 4th in over 100 cities around the world, people will join the Global March for Elephants & Rhinos (& Lions, in some cities) to demand an end to the trade that’s driving these majestic creatures to extinction. There’s a march in Boston. Please go! The fate of these endangered species is in our hands. Please march and spread the word. Thank you!

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