"When people think about Africa, they still think of such huge, open plains of animals, "Nick Brandt said," They think of the wilderness. "
For Brandt, nothing could be more than the truth. The famous photographer, whose fifth project, This empty world, came out this week, has faced the unpleasant friction between the natural world and the human world for decades in his work.
This collection strengthens the urgent number of slots with photos that are cinematic, disturbing and almost absurd, contrasting wild with civilized in a way that often does not count for the viewer, especially unused for how animals and people dwell in the same places in eastern Africa.
For Brandt, this confrontation was disturbing – and at the same time inspirational. In 2010, Brandt founded the Big Life Foundation, an organization that hopes it could help preserve African wildlife by helping the locals. The Great Life employs hundreds of park agents in Amboseli, a vast expanse of 2 million acres overlooking Kenya and Tanzania, where poachers have made populations of local elephants almost gone.
Indeed, much of Brandt's work emphasizes these elephants, confused, confused and frightened, as their normal habitat.
But while poaching is a huge issue threatening local wildlife, Brandt says his work has shown that more than poaching, the lack of space for people and wildlife for coexistence is worrying.
And he does not blame people.
"It is very important to understand that people in the photos are not the attackers," he said. "It is not just animals that are the victims of environmental degradation, it is also the rural poor, and the degradation of the environment affects the poor of the countryside."
In this way, Brandt's work does not see man as an enemy.
"What I hope we meet is a common sense of melancholy and loss of both humans and animals," Brandt said. "There is a sad coexistence in the whim of the greatest powers, for these people are their destiny and they are also out of control as development scans these areas."
"The population of Africa is estimated to be 1 billion euros [people]. It is estimated that it will reach 1.6 billion by 2030, "Brandt said." There is simply not enough space, especially in East Africa, for animals to coexist with human beings. "
The stunning cinematic quality of the graphics was taken with digital photography, a first for Brandt. "It was a practical necessity," Brandt said. "I wanted everything shot in the pictures to be shot at the same spot."
Animals were first shot using industrial lights. The cameras were created for weeks, sometimes months, as Brandt waited for the animals to be comfortable enough to get into the frame and shoot their pictures with motion sensors. Then the ensembles were built and the people brought. after the end of the shooting, Brandt and his crew recycle everything and put the materials back in the supply chain so they do not lose anything "so it was like they were never there."
The combination of the resulting photos was made on nearly 10 foot prints in New York and Los Angeles.
The enormous power is strong. the void is bright and dark but sensitive, as the fear and loneliness of animals struggling to find their way into the human world is directed against human progress.
Particularly impressive is the use of light and color to make the fight visceral to the viewer.
"I wanted to photograph the animals in the natural world in an unnatural light," Brandt said.
To show how the titans of the industry benefited both humans and animals, Brandt used multiple cameras at night and lit animals and humans with the photovoltaic fluorescence of industrial lights. The sites found were removed mainly from overgrazing, with many in the industrial and processing factories built on a rich and green land.
Nude land proved difficult in photography.
"It was a nightmare to work on," Brandt said. "I wanted all this dust, since I'm talking about environmental degradation.
Many of the images have a blue-red aura, which serves to further enhance the discomfort and the sense of isolation of both humans and animals.
Brandt said the lighting was deliberate, but it also reflected modern Africa, with red lights just coming from the rear lights of the car, causing a feeling of anxiety or anxiety from the animal.
And while blue is often associated with tranquility, the electric blue that illuminates many animals in the book is odd and haunted.
"We installed blue gel lights, so the elephants were illuminated by the blue light and everything started to look like [in the background]Brandt said. "The light from the bus makes the elephant appear to be illuminated."
The way in which light plays with caved holes and creates dark spaces helps to further create anxiety for the loss of what could be.
"Many animals are in trenches, so they feel they are swallowed by the earth, while the tide of progress is sweeping," Brandt said.
Ultimately, Brandt realizes that local geopolitics and biodiversity of animal and human struggles in eastern Africa may seem remote to Americans who may not see a lion or elephant attempting to use the same land as a person.
But Brandt hopes that empathy could help put a person – man and animal – into industrialization and the "evil offenders" of the "greedy, short-lived minds of politicians and industrialists."
"I am trying to increase the dialogue in my own incremental way," he said. "If there are enough people talking about climate change or the loss of biodiversity, it becomes part of global awareness, and perhaps, maybe, perhaps, penetrate our consciousness.
"It is a short-term financial benefit to some at the expense of many. You can not isolate the two, and this is happening not only in Africa but also globally."
Dick Brad: This empty world published by the Thames and Hudson in February 2019, coincides with exhibitions at London's Waddington Custot (in collaboration with Gallery Atlas), February 7 – March 7, 2019, Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, February 21 – April 20, 2019 , and the Fahey / Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, February 28 – April 27, 2019.
For more information about the book: Click here