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There’s always a minute or two to admire Nick Brandt’s photography. His african animal portraits are regal and epic, showcasing their mysterious ways and ferocious manners and yet their old and candid wisdom look.

It’s interesting to see how a successful music video maker ended up forging a career out of his photography solely in Africa. Brandt studied Painting, and then Film at St. Martins School of Art and moved to the United States in 1992, where he directed many award-winning music videos for the likes of Michael Jackson (Earth Song, Stranger in Moscow and Cry), Moby, Jewel…

It was while directing “Earth Song” in 1995, in Tanzania, that Brandt fell in love with the animals and land of East Africa. Over the next few years, frustrated that he could not capture on film his feelings about and love for animals, he realized there was a way to achieve this through photography, in a way that he felt no-one had really done before.

On medium-format and B&W film without telephoto or zoom lenses, his photography bears little relation to the colour documentary-style wildlife photography that is the norm. Animals in his portraits seem human-like, while he manages to capture them as if they, themselves, would’ve asked for the photo taken instead of stealing snaps from behind the bushes.

Big Life Foundation

In September 2010, in urgent response to the escalation of poaching in Africa due to increased demand from the Far East, Nick Brandt founded the non-profit organization called Big Life Foundation, dedicated to the conservation of Africa’s wildlife and ecosystems.

Music video direction, photographs that will take your breath away and a non-profit organization protecting animals… this sounds like a win-win life adventure.

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Author: Bea Cabrera

Freelance Filmmaker with a passion for big cities, snowboard, cinema and a weakness for the smell of freshly ground coffee. Engineer & Graphic Designer in a previous life, loving and living both: art and technology.  

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