Nick Brandt’s sepia-toned images evoke a time when animals lived in harmony, untroubled by our contemporary age marked by the devastation of natural resources, hunting for pleasure and economic greed, as a result of everything from poaching to out of control development and population explosion.
With his intimate portraits of magnificent animals, Nick Brandt reminds us that the world, with all its splendour and diversity, is a very fragile place. His pictures are like no other natural images. There are no sensational hunting scenes. Instead Brandt presents us with a sense of calm and dignity. Possibly because he dares to move in close to the animals, with which he seems to have an understanding. We see their wrinkles of the animals, their weather-beaten skin, the intensity or curiosity in their eyes.
Nick Brandt has dedicated his life to depicting the natural world of the East African landscape. He first visited Tanzania in 1996. Starting in 2001, he began photographing and two years later he gave up his successful directing career in order to devote all his time to depicting the animals of Africa.
He now completes his earlier works “On This Earth” and “A Shadow Falls” with “Across the Ravaged Land”. The title completes the sentence of the trilogy: On This Earth, A Shadow Falls, Across The Ravaged Land.
The photographs in Across The Ravaged Land are a kind of final testament, an elegy to the extraordinary nature of East Africa and its wild creatures. Fifteen years ago Nick Brandt saw a paradise, an Eden, today the picture is the opposite. The exhibition comprises all three parts of the trilogy.
Nick Brandt’s images highlight an extremely worrying development. Animal life on an entire continent is being wiped out, because people believe they could live longer, enjoy a better sex life, have higher status and decorative homes, when the reality is the opposite is the truth: elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns cannot possibly be more beautiful than on the animals.
Brandt says that we mustn’t give up. We need to get involved and fight for animal survival. Otherwise, in a few years’ time we will only be able to see these animals in zoos. Instead of becoming angry and dejected, Brandt decided to become angry and active. In 2010 he founded Big Life Foundation. It was the first organisation in East Africa that pursues co-coordinated cross-border anti-poaching operations.
In conjunction with Nick Brandt´s previous exhibition at Fotografiska, the museum and its visitors donated money to Big Life Foundation, to help preserve the natural world of eastern Africa. The donations equal the cost for one year’s salaries and training of a squad of 72 anti-poaching scouts, each with equipment for patrols including handheld radios, uniforms, binoculars, GPS and cameras.
Born in London in 1966, Nick Brandt was educated at Saint Martin’s School of Art, where he studied painting and film. In 1992 he moved to the United States and began directing music videos with artists such as Michael Jackson and Moby. While directing Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” in Tanzania in 1995, Brandt fell in love with the country and its fauna. A few years later he began his trilogy. Since 2004, he has held numerous solo exhibitions around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Sydney, Munich, Brussels, Paris and Fotografiska in Stockholm, where he had his first major solo museum exhibition in 2011. In 2010, he co-founded Big Life Foundation, whose mission it is to preserve the unique African wildlife and the ecosystem.