Inspirational Photographers | Nick Brandt

August 2, 2014

Having had a look at the work of Ansel Adams, this week we’re taking a peek at British photographer Nick Brandt.

Born in 1966 and raised in London, he photographs exclusively in Africa. His goal to record the wild animals and landscape there before they are destroyed.

Nick Brandt - On this earth

Brandt moved to the United States in 1992 where he directed music videos for artists such as Michael Jackson, Moby and Badly Drawn Boy. While directing ‘Earth Song’ for Jackson he fell in love with East Africa. It was at that point he decided to capture the animals and landscape in a way that had not been achieved before – through a trilogy of photographic books.

Brandt doesn’t use a telephoto or zoom lens instead preferring to get up close and reveal the animals personalities with medium-format black and white film. This is what makes his intimate images of animals in dramatic landscapes and portraits so striking.

Nick Brandt - collage 2

The first book in Nick Brandt’s trilogy, On This Earth, includes 66 photographs from 2000-2004. They showcase an African paradise which contrasts his subsequent books. Elephant with Exploding Dust is one of Brandt’s best-known images.

A Shadow Falls features 58 photographs from 2005-2008. As the title suggests, this second part of the trilogy takes a more melancholic stance. A critic described it as a love story without the happily ever after. The opening images show an unspoiled lush green world but become starker – an abandoned ostrich egg on a parched lake bed the most poignant.

The final part of the trilogy, Across the Ravaged Land, was published in 2013. It documents the disappearing natural world and animals in East Africa – humans are introduced for the first time. The image of the ranger with tusks of an elephant was taken before Big Life was created – a foundation Brandt started in 2010. The charity now employs 280 rangers and protects 2 million acres of wilderness in East Africa.

Nick Brandt final collage

Although Brandt shoots on film, he scans his negatives then dodges and burns the images. He doesn’t add or clone animals or skies – the scenes are exactly as he saw them. His large limited edition prints have sold for up to $160,000. Brandt has had multiple solo exhibitions worldwide with his first seeing 140,000 visitors.

All photographs in this post were taken by Nick Brandt. For further information please do check out his website. You can also visit the Artsy Nick Brandt page which provides access to over 50 of Nick Brandt’s works and up to date exhibition listings. 

You Might Also Like

  • PODcast | The B&W Photography Project | Week #4 August 3, 2014 at 12:03 am

    […] week there’s a post on inspirational British photographer Nick Brandt. Born in 1966 and raised in London, he photographs exclusively in Africa. His goal to record the […]

  • Louise August 3, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Wow these are gorgeous photos. I particularly like the ones of the elephants and rhinos. Stunning shots.

  • Michelle Twin Mum August 3, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Gosh, his work is truly amazing. So,so stunning. Mich x

  • The Mummy Diary August 3, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Beautiful and stunning pictures of some of the most perfect animals nature has conjured up! #bwphotoproject

  • Mrs Teepot August 3, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Wow, that is one talented guy! I am in awe of all these shots, so stunning

  • Super Busy Mum August 3, 2014 at 7:44 am

    These are stunning aren’t they! Makes you wonder how he captures them, I for one would certainly love to know! x

  • Funky Wellies August 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Wow… Inspirational indeed! Just fabulous. xx

  • mylittledreamworld1 August 3, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Some of these photographs have given me goosebumps – they are stunning. So much drama and significance in the images, love them. X

  • Jaime Oliver August 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    oh wow .. the lion with this mane blown back is utterly amazing!

  • LauraCYMFT August 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    These are amazing shots! The first one is so striking.

  • Iona@redpeffer August 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Just amazing. Such eloquent photographs that really are stunning.

  • Kizzy August 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Amazing, I especially love the boat image, such emotion.

  • sustainablemum August 4, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    What beautiful photos.

  • sarah hill wheeler (@hill_wheeler) August 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to Brandt’s work. Amazing. Had never thought B & W would be so effective in wildlife shots…and to think he took those without a big telephoto lenses. Inspirational and very poignant too.

  • Kel August 9, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Wow, breathtaking photos. Thank you for showing us these!

  • PODcast | The B&W Photography Project | Week #5 August 10, 2014 at 12:02 am

    […] don’t know about you but I always enjoy looking at black and white photographs. The ones by Nick Brandt just blew me away, what an […]