LONDON.- A Shadow Falls, Nick Brandt's second major body of work, continues the photographer's ambitious and ongoing photographic project to memorialize the vanishing natural grandeur of East Africa. Brandt's wide-screen panoramas of animals and landscapes capture an epic vision of a wild Africa which is steadily vanishing. His iconic portraits of its majestic animals are filled with an empathy usually only reserved for human subjects, but depict an increasingly bleak view of their future survival reflected in the ominous sounding title. A Shadow Falls is the second in a planned trilogy of books and exhibitions; the titles of all three works together will eventually form a complete sentence.
Despite the subject matter, his work is not mere wildlife photography. Few other photographers have practiced the photography of wild animals as a distinct art form. Brandt's emphasis has always been on capturing the drama of wild animals in the state of BEING, as opposed to ACTION. In his own words Brandt's goal is "to yank the subject matter of wildlife into the arena of fine art photography...to take photographs that transcend what has largely before come under the genre of documentary."
Brandt's secret is to get close-up, often within a few feet of animals in the wild. Without the use of a telephoto lens he can capture the vast skies and landscapes, and portray the animals within the context of their environment. His work is as much about a sense of place as its inhabitants. This closeness creates a feeling of intimate connection, with the animals seemingly offering themselves for a studio portrait.
Why the animals of Africa in particular? And more particularly why still East Africa? Its endless green rolling plains punctuated by the graphically perfect acacia trees are deeply affecting, and its animals more profoundly iconic, mythical, mythological even, than any other on the planet.
In the last six years Brandt has risen to prominence as a major figure in contemporary photography on both sides of the Atlantic with major exhibitions everywhere from Berlin to Los Angeles, with celebrity buyers and established collectors queuing to buy his work, which range from 20 X 24" prints to almost life-size 60"x 80" large-format pigment prints.
Brandt is dedicated not only to the interpretation of wildlife as an art form but also to the preservation of his beloved subjects. In aid of the Tusk Trust there will an exclusive private view on the 15th September, proceeds from which will benefit the charity.
Critical response to his first exhibited work On This Earth, heralded Brandt's photographic achievement. According to Time Magazine, "African wildlife has never looked so regal and mysterious as in Brandt's grave photographs." American Photo said "Combining splendid natural backdrops with a portraitist's approach to animals, Brandt's images show not only the reckless beauty of Africa's vanishing wilds but also the humanity of its creatures. The photos have an uncanny intimacy." And Black and White Magazine called his photos "heartbreakingly beautiful".
A Shadow Falls published by Abrams in September 2009
A Shadow Falls reproduces fifty-eight recent images in stunning, oversized tritone plates. Philosopher Peter Singer, author of the groundbreaking Animal Liberation, explains why Brandt's photographs speak to an increasing human moral conscience about our treatment of animals. The distinguished photography critic Vicki Goldberg places Brandt's work in the history of the medium. Price: £29.99 and ISBN: 0978-0-8109-5415-1.
The exhibition will be held at The Air Gallery, 32 Dover Street,W1S 4NE.