Biography

Best known for his three-part series On This Earth, A Shadow Falls, Across The Ravaged Land, Nick Brandt has spent his career photographing the disappearing natural world of East Africa in a style that transcends expected depictions of the subject. Brandt’s direct and carefully framed images capture not only the beauty of his location but also evoke implications of the tenuous balance between East Africa’s magnificent landscape and its escalating urbanization. The gallery will debut Brandt’s innovative and complex new body of work Inherit the Dust with a solo exhibition in March 2016, accompanied by a large monograph of the same title published by Edwynn Houk Editions and distributed by D.A.P.

In contrast to many photographers working in nature, Brandt approaches his work through the tradition of classical portraiture. Likened to the methodology of August Sander or Diane Arbus, Brandt utilizes this technique to offer an honest depiction of Africa’s natural order while also revealing the individuality of his subjects. Upon closer inspection familiar archetypes of the animal kingdom are subverted to reveal intimate and complex views of each animal Brandt photographs. Through this revelation the artist effectively anthropomorphizes his animals, presenting them as complicated creatures to which the viewer can relate and understand, and a true strength of these portraits lies in Brandt’s ability to simultaneously conjure impressions of power, empathy, pity, fear, and respect for his subject’s in the viewer.
 

In addition, Brandt also calls into question mankind’s role within his captured images. Behind each arresting and technically perfect photograph, the artist subtly indicates the impending collision of humanity and Africa’s natural world. The endangerment of these animals is a consistent presence contributing to the force of each picture. It was, in fact, in reaction to the proliferation of illegal hunting that Brandt witnessed over the course of his time in Africa that led the artist to found the Big Life Foundation in 2010 as the first East African organization to coordinate anti-poaching initiatives across Africa’s borders.

Nick Brandt was born in London, United Kingdom in 1964 and studied painting and film at Martin’s School of Art, London. In 2011 Fotografiska Museum, Stockholm hosted the artist’s first major solo museum exhibition and Brandt has continued to exhibit at institutions worldwide, including Salo Art Museum, Finland; Preus National Museum of Photography, Oslo; Maier Museum of Art, Lynchburg, Virginia, and Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul. Several monographs of Brandt’s work have been published, including On This Earth (Chronicle Books, 2005), A Shadow Falls (Abrams, 2009), and Across The Ravaged Land (Abrams, 2013). The artist lives and works in the mountains of Southern California.