Nick Brandt African Wildlife Photography Show Opens in Jackson Hole Today
Nick Brandt's transcendent images of African wildlife create a strikingly intimate connection with the animals he photographs. The National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyo., opens the exhibition "Elegy: The African Photography of Nick Brandt, 2001 - 2008" today, January 18, 2014, presenting a selection of these animal portraits that capture Brandt's individualized view of the animals within the context of their environment. The exhibition will be on display in the museum's King Gallery throughout Jackson Hole's busy ski season and will close on April 20, 2014.
Photographer Brandt, once a high profile maker of music videos, fell in love with Africa in 1996 while directing the music video for Michael Jackson's "Earth Song." He adopted an unconventional black-and-white fine art approach to wildlife photography that uses a medium-format camera and a portrait or wide-angle rather than a telephoto lens.
"I never planned to be a photographer, but I had always wanted to somehow capture my passion for animals visually, and it was only when I visited East Africa that I realized that there was a way to achieve this - through photography, and in a way very personal to me," explains Brandt in an interview with Professional Photography magazine.
Part of making it personal has been Brandt's decision not to use a telephoto lens, instead getting close to the animals to reveal their personalities. "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," he says. But getting close requires patience, which Brandt cites as one of the keys to his art. He frequently spends days waiting for the right moment and composition for one of his wildlife photographs.
Brandt goes on to say that he hopes his photographs will help raise awareness about the pressure humankind is putting on wildlife. "I want my images to achieve two things in this regard," says Brandt, "to be an elegy to a world that is tragically vanishing, to make people see what beauty is disappearing. Also, to try and show that animals are sentient creatures equally as worthy of life as humans."