image

English photographer Nick Brandt first had occasion to visit East Africa in 1995, as the director of the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song.” As many have, he simply “fell in love with the place,” not least with the animals that live there. “That experience shifted my focus in terms of what I wanted to say about the world,” says Brandt, and for almost two decades now, he has exclusively dedicated himself to saying it. His richly toned and finely detailed black-and-white photographs of East Africa’s surreal landscapes and wild creatures have the regal tone of court portraiture, a timeless, cinematic confidence, and the complex emotional gravitas of character studies. But what was born of a pure, almost innocent, and deeply personal love for the charms of the region soon became inextricably bound up in much thornier, darker, and increasingly dire issues of rapid, reckless industrialization and its dangerous and tragic encroachment on the natural environments animals once called home.