Nick Brandt Statement

Artist Statement

Nick's exquisite photographs arouse deep emotions. They inspire a sense of awe at the beauty of creation and the sacredness of life. It's almost impossible to look through his work without sensing the personalities of the beings whom he has photographed.

(Author, Conservationist, Primatologist, UN Messenger of Peace)

The photographs of Nick Brandt are both beautiful and haunting. When I first saw them, I grew very quiet, because Brandt’s reverence for his subjects was so immediately clear....You are about to enter a world of the imagination where all the animals are real, both fragile and full of grace.

(Author of "The Lovely Bones")

Nick Brandt's photographs of African animals and landscapes are both epic and iconic. It's a vision of Africa that we have not seen before.

(Photographer ("American Odyssey 1963-1999"/ "Twins" / "Indian Circus" / "Streetwise")

Nick Brandt's photography is beautiful and elegaic in a classic way, and also "strange" in the best sense; those who know East Africa must grieve to think that our own species could be so greedy and unwise as to let such magnificent creatures disappear.

(Author of "At Play in the Fields of the Lord", "The Tree Where Man Was Born", "The Snow Leopard", "African Silences")


Very few photographers have ever really considered the photography of wildlife, as distinctly opposed to the genre of Wildlife Photography, as an art form. The emphasis has generally been on capturing the drama of wild animals IN ACTION, or capturing that dramatic single MOMENT, as opposed to simply animals in the state of BEING.
I’ve always thought this something of a wasted opportunity. The wild animals of Africa lend themselves to potentially extraordinary photographs, that extend aesthetically beyond the norm of 35mm-color telephoto wildlife photography. And so it is, that in my own way, I would like to go towards correcting that. My aim is that my photographs transcend what prior to this, was a purely documentative genre.

Aside from using certain absurdly impractical techniques, I do one thing that I believe makes a big difference : I get very, very close to the animals. I don't use telephoto lenses, as I want to see as much of the sky and landscape as possible - to see the animals within the context of their environment. That way, the photos become about the atmosphere of the place as well as the animals.
And being that close to the animals, I get a real sense of intimate connection to them, to that specific animal in front of me. I love the feeling, want the feeling, that they’re almost presenting themselves for a studio portrait.

Why the animals of Africa in particular? And more particularly still, East Africa?
There is perhaps something more profoundly iconic, mythological even, about the animals of East Africa, as opposed to say, the Arctic or South America). And there is also something incredibly emotionally stirring about the plains of Africa - the vast green rolling plains punctuated by absurdly, perfectly graphic acacia trees.

My images are my elegy to a world that is steadily, tragically vanishing.

Process Statement
All photos from 2007 shot on Pentax 67 medium format on Kodak T-Max 100, T-Max 400. Prior to that, also some shot on Ilford Delta 3200 and Macophot Infra Red film.

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