’The Guardian’ – Amboseli, Kenya

Size: Standard: 48” x 40” Large: 63” x 52” (Framed)

Materials: Innova Etching 315 gsm cotton rag paper

    At the time I took this photo, it was the closest to an elephant I had ever been.

    Having taken great inspiration from photographer Nick Brandt, who had always insisted on photographing wildlife in the same way he photographed people; with a wide angle lens from as close as was possible, this was a practice I was keen to emulate.

    For this to (safely) work requires a phenomenal guide, which in Amboseli I was lucky to have in Eric Ole Kalama, a Maasai conservationist with an innate ability to anticipate elephant behaviour.

    When we first found this bull elephant, quietly grazing under Mt. Kilimanjaro, he was a fair distance from our vehicle. Over time he worked his way over towards where we waited, until eventually he was standing over us, so close that I could smell the grass he was eating. He remained calm throughout, quietly moving around the vehicle to tear up fresh grass from around our wheels. My aim was to reflect the tranquility of the moment in the image, while his incredible presence certainly ensured I was nervous to have him so close, it was nothing but a gentle encounter.

    As with all images in this collection, 10% of the proceeds from this image will be split between David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and Saving The Wild, my two partnered charities. It is thanks to the efforts of dedicated individuals and organisations like these that I, and many others, are able to still enjoy the incredible wildlife Africa has to offer. It is imperative to me therefore, that my images are able to help them achieve their missions and amplify their message.