Nick Brandt: On this Earth, A Shadow Falls

Mar 30, 2012

Now showing at New York’s Hasted Kraeutler gallery: Nick Brandt – On this Earth, A Shadow Falls Photographer Nick Brandt first fell in love with Africa in 1995, when he visited Tanzania to direct Michael Jack¬son’s “Earth Song” video. While there, Brandt was deeply moved by the beauty and spirit of the continent’s endangered animals, and felt compelled to capture and preserve what he saw.

So, over the past ten years, Brandt has photographed these animals, and sees this project as “my elegy to these beautiful creatures, to this wrenchingly beautiful world that is steadily, tragically, vanishing before our eyes.” Rather than using a telephoto lens, Brandt finds ways to get up close to his subjects, convinced that his proximity to the animals dramatically impacts his ability to reveal their personalities. As he writes, “You wouldn’t take a portrait of a human being from a hundred feet away and expect to capture their spirit; you’d move in close.” For this reason, it sometimes takes Brandt weeks of patience to get close enough to the sub¬ject to get a single photograph, often times just weeks before they are killed by poachers.

“What I am interested in is showing the animals simply in the state of Being,” Brandt explains. “In the state of Being before they ‘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.”