Monday, July 6, 2015

#11 : 

Fail again. Fail better. 

Those are the immortal words of Samuel Becket. And the philosophy that best sums up my years-long attempts to get the 'perfect' photograph of a line of elephants crossing the African plains. 

I tried countless times over several years, never achieving, to my satisfaction, the line as I imagined it - simultaneous ideal choreography, light, and location. So I kept trying, what was ultimately hundreds of times.

So this photograph is my best attempt at failing better. 

The herd in the photo is being led by a wonderful matriarch named Marianna (by Amboseli Elephant Research). Photographed in 2008, she was 44 years old at the time. The following year, Marianna was killed by poachers.

Along with Igor, the elephant in Elephant Drinking, Marianna’s death was one of the reasons that I was motivated to co-found Big Life Foundation, which helps protect and preserve the wild animals of East Africa, and Marianna's home (To learn more about Big Life, please go to

The photo was also the inspiration behind the somber photo taken three years later, Line of Rangers  Holding Tusks Killed at the Hands of Man, Amboseli, 2011. I’ll write about that photo next week.

Technical : As usual, the photo was shot on medium format black and white film. Also, as usual, this photo should be seen at its actual print size of 75 inches (190 cm) in length.

The photo is published in “A Shadow Falls” and “On This Earth, A Shadow Falls” (available on Amazon).
SIGNED copies of both are available at


  1. Truly lovely work Mr Brandt. I very much enjoyed your exhibition at Fotografiska (Stockholm) the other day. You've got yourself a fan.