Nick Brandt (born 1964) is an English photographer. The themes in Nick Brandt’s photographic series always relate to the destructive impact that humankind is having on both the natural world and now humans themselves too.
In the East African trilogy, On This Earth, A Shadow Falls Across The Ravaged Land (2001-2012), Brandt 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), Brandt photographed in places in East Africa where the animals used to roam. In each location, life size panels of unreleased animal portrait photographs were erected, setting the panels within a world of explosive human development. It is not just the animals who are the victims in this out of control world, but also the humans.
Photographing in color for the first time, This Empty World (2019) addresses the escalating destruction of the East African 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 are also often helplessly swept along by the relentless tide of ‘progress’. Each image is a combination of two moments in time shot from the exact same camera position, once with wild animals that ente frame, after which a set is built and a cast of people drawn from local communities.
The Day May Break (2021) is the first part of a global series portraying people & animals impacted by environmental destruction. Photographed in Zimbabwe and Kenya, the people in the photos have all been badly affected by climate change – displaced by cyclones that destroyed their homes, displaced & impoverished after years-long severe droughts. The photos were taken at 5 sanctuaries/ conservancies. The animals are almost all long-term rescues, due to everything from poaching of their parents to habitat destruction & poisoning. These animals can never be released back into the wild. Now habituated, it was therefore safe for strangers to be photographed close to the animals in the same frame.
Brandt has had solo gallery and museum shows around the world, including New York, London, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris and Los Angeles.
All the series are published in book form. In 2010, Brandt co-founded Big Life Foundation, a non-profit in Kenya/ Tanzania that employ more than 300 local rangers protecting 1.6 million acres of the Amboseli/Kilimanjaro ecosystem. Born and raised in London, where he originally studied Painting and Film, Brandt now lives in the southern Californian mountains.