Nick Brandt is an English photographer (b. 1964) whose themes always relate to the disappearing natural world, before much of it is destroyed by mankind.
From 2001 to 2018, he has photographed in Africa. In his trilogy, On This Earth, A Shadow Falls Across The Ravaged Land (2001-2012), he established a style of portrait photography of animals in the wild similar to that of the photography of humans in studio setting, shot on medium format film, attempting to portray animals as sentient creatures not so different from us.
In Inherit the Dust (2016), in a series of panoramas, Brandt recorded the impact of man in places where animals used to roam, but no longer do. In each location, Brandt erected a life-size panel of one of his unreleased animal portrait photographs, placing the displaced animals on sites of explosive urban development, new factories, wastelands and quarries.
This Empty World (2019) addresses the escalating destruction of the natural world at the hands of humans, showing a world where, overwhelmed by runaway development, there is no longer space for animals to survive. The people in the photos also often helplessly swept along by the relentless tide of ‘progress’’.
Each image is a combination of two moments in time, captured weeks apart, almost all from the exact same locked-off camera position. A partial set is built and lit. Weeks follow whilst the wild animals in the area become comfortable enough to enter the frame. Once the animals are captured on camera, the full sets are built. A second sequence is then photographed with a cast of people drawn from local communities and beyond.
Brandt has had solo gallery and museum shows around the world, including New York, London, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris and Los Angeles. Born and raised in England, he now lives in the southern Californian mountains. He is co-founder of Big Life Foundation, fighting to protect the animals and ecosystem of a large area of Kenya and Tanzania.