After spending his early career as a successful music video director, London-born Nick Brandt took a trip to Tanzania that awakened his love of wildlife and altered the course of his career. While in the country to film Michael Jackson’s Earth Song , Brant became inspired by the animals he saw there and fascinated by the changing natural world in which they inhabited. Since 2001, Brandt has dedicated his career to photographing the animals of East Africa and their quickly disappearing natural habitat.
In his images, Brandt intends to create character portraits rather than traditional wildlife documents, aiming to portray his subjects as sentient creatures not so different from humans. Brandt states: 'I want to frame the animals within the context of their environment, their world. I want to get a real sense of intimate connection with each of the animals -- with that specific chimp, that particular lion or elephant in front of me.... The more I feel like they are posing for their portrait, the more I seem to like the final result.'
Brandt works without the help of telephoto or zoom lenses, requiring a close proximity to his subjects that imbues his works with a rare sense of intimacy. Elephant Drinking, Amboseli, 2007 is one of the most striking examples of this method, presenting viewers with a majestic, portrait-like image of the elephant. Capturing the animal head on and printing the final image at a large scale, Brandt invokes a deep connection between the elephant and the viewer, resulting in a truly masterful work. A brilliant representation of Brandt’s twenty year relationship with wildlife, Elephant Drinking was chosen as the cover image for the photographer’s second book, On This Earth, a Shadow Falls, published in 2014.