Continuing with my list, today I bring you #9.
#9 A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt
Unlike On Photography, my #10 selection which was all words and photograph free, this book is a beautiful collection of large images of the vanishing animals of East Africa. Eschewing the traditional thought of recording these animals in the golden sunset, or embraced in the continuous life and death struggle, Brandt chose a simpler, more stately method of honoring these creatures. Flipping through the pages of this book is as if seeing these animals for the very first time. Beautifully rich black and white images detail the everyday life of elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, rhinoceros, and more. Giraffe necks entwined in an embrace, elephants pausing for a drink of life affirming water, lions relaxing in the midday heat, and zebras looking over their shoulder to guard against the ever present dangers that life provides them with.
This book also reminds you to look at your subjects in a unique and interesting way. We've all seen countless images of these same animals, but none of them quite carry the weight of these beautiful photographs.
"I'm not interested in creating work that is simply documentary or filled with action and drama, which has been the norm in the photography of animals in the wild. What I am interested in is showing the animals simply in the state of Being. In the state of Being before they are no longer are. Before, in the wild at least, they cease to exist. This world is under terrible threat, all of it caused by us. To me, every creature, human or nonhuman, has an equal right to live, and this feeling, this belief that every animal and I are equal, affects me every time I frame an animal in my camera. The photos are my elegy to these beautiful creatures, to this wrenchingly beautiful world that is steadily, tragically vanishing before our eyes." - Nick Brandt