Best known for his intimate depictions of the animals and sweeping landscapes of East Africa, Nick Brandt has spent his career photographing and responding to the fragile ecosystem and increasing urbanization of Africa’s national parks and the surrounding areas. Disturbed by his observations of the disappearing natural world in these locations, Brandt’s photographs have consistently communicated an underlying message of preservation and activism for Africa’s wildlife. In 2010, he was prompted to action and co-founded Big Life Foundation to support anti-poaching initiatives across Africa’s borders.
In Brandt’s most recent series Inherit the Dust, the artist further addresses the intersection of Africa’s environment with the continent’s increasing industrial development in a collection of dramatic large-scale panoramic images. For this new work, Brandt has printed and enlarged his classic animal portraits to life-size and then photographed the panels placed within urban areas throughout Kenya. Executed with the cinematic beauty and intimate nature for which Brandt is known, the resulting images feature haunting depictions of Africa’s most majestic creatures as they seem to wander through a garbage wasteland or huddle beside a commercial factory. The resulting juxtaposition illustrates a poignant view of Africa’s contemporary state and the growth that has affected its human and animal populations alike. With each arresting and carefully framed photograph, Brandt calls attention to ecological and social dilemmas that ultimately extend beyond the people and wildlife of East Africa and encompass global environmental concerns.
Nick Brandt was born in London, United Kingdom in 1964 and studied painting and film at Martin’s School of Art, London. In 2011 Fotografiska Museum in Stockholm hosted the artist’s first major solo museum exhibition and Brandt has continued to exhibit at institutions worldwide, including Salo Art Museum, Finland; Preus National Museum of Photography, Oslo; Maier Museum of Art, Lynchburg, Virginia, and Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul.