When I travel around giving my talks it is something that personally makes me smile inside. Let’s face it, as a Leo, I enjoy nothing more than to talk about myself, my images, and languish in the moment!
Recently though I had a moment. I was at a new camera club I hadn’t spoken at before, and at the end of my talk about Predators and photographing them at AfriCat. The chair of the group stood up to give the customary “thank yous”. In that single moment, he pulled the carpet from underneath me.
One of my pictures he compared to a work by Nick Brandt! Those who know me, will also know that I hold Nick’s work in the highest of esteem. Nick is the embodiment of what I aspire to be when taking pictures, and in that single moment, I felt guilty as sin. It was a lovely compliment, but I suddenly believe that I was a sham photographer and became sad that I might detract from Nick’s work. Lessen his impact.
If you have never looked at his work, then I suggest you do. If he has an exhibition on anywhere you can get to, GO. It will change your life. Seriously.
Nick is in the conservation game and has been for a very long time. He has an amazing foundation which he co-founded to protect huge areas of land for the animals that live there: Big Life Foundation. His bodies of work have been produced over more than a decade, and as they progress, the big reveal becomes apparent. I’ve followed his work from when he published “On This Earth” which encompassed images of wildlife from 2001 onwards. All his work up until now has been monochrome. More on that in a moment.
If you look at the titles of his main portfolios, they build into an important message. The first three form a single statement that defines the work within, and tells of the decline perpetrated by man. The fourth portfolio, which is the saddest epilogue to the first three works, brought me to tears.
Inherit the Dust revisits his previous works by placing them where they were originally taken, however, the circumstances of their placements re-enforces the issues that have not gone away. I’m purposefully being vague here for a reason. You need to view his works in order, and the impact of this fourth set of works, will become that much more powerful.
Even the titles! Please, if there is one thing that you do this week. Look at Nick’s work. He is one of this centuries defining photographers that has the ability to shift opinion, driving home the message with his images.
I mentioned that Nick has up until recently provided his works in monochrome. Allowing the image to speak volumes without the distraction of colour. Stark reminders of the crimes perpetrated by man in the name of greed, or more commonly now, survival.
Human Wildlife Conflict on many occasions is now a result of the need to survive. It still doesn’t make it right, but it does very clearly put the need to find a solution in our hands on humanitarian grounds.
This Empty World
Nick has now released his fifth collection. Not one to shy away from the right presentation to underline the message. He presents this body of work in colour. His first collection to do so. A powerful and evocative underpinning of all his work before. A series of beautifully staged images that take your breath away.
Note: I have not placed any of Nick’s images in this blog. Only my image at the top. Please follow the links to his site and then explore and understanding his work and messages.