The elephant is a formidable animal. Their sheer strength is juxtaposed with a tranquil percipience as if possessed by an omnipotent being. Their intelligence rivals few others in the animal kingdom. It seems that wisdom is etched into the creases and folds that give this animal a primeval look.
I have been enchanted by elephants from my formative days. I recall years when I was consumed elephantine—I’d spend hours pouring through encyclopedias, and Nat Geo shows on these pachyderms. In the forest, I’d gape at their magnificent forms, from their snake-like trunks to broad profiles. Power and confidence seemed to radiate from their bodies.
The elephant’s roughened demeanour and imposing countenance hold enormous potential for abstract interpretation.
The elephant’s body is of utmost infatuation to me. Their thick, stubby skin folds, expansive midsection, and imposing foreheads make for a menacing beast.
These shapes blend into one another and form their own landscape, awash with contours and depressions. Coupled with the heavily rumpled hide, the elephants maintain their own topography. Its roughened demeanour and imposing countenance hold enormous potential for abstract interpretation.
Nowhere is this best illustrated in the poem, “The Blind Men and the Elephant” by John Godfrey Saxe. It speaks about 6 bind men touching the body of an elephant. Each describes what they feel by comparing it to other objects—its tusk to a spear, leg to a tree, tail to a snake and so it. It beautifully illustrates the magnitude of structures of this behemoth’s body
(This is wonderfully depicted in an illustration I saw in the Lokame Tharvadu Art Exhibition—Read about it here!).
As I grew more active in wildlife photography, I discerned that few photographers captured this aspect of elephants. In failing to do so, they neglect the raw majesty of this animal.
I strive to showcase this beast in its full glory. Fuelled by my burning passion for them, I began shooting them through this new lens. Instead of full-length shots and portraits, I zoom right in. I focus on the crinkles and folds and how the animal’s frame becomes its own landscape.
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This has culminated in my photo series – “Elephantscapes”. They portray my vision of this animal. I sincerely hope that in viewing them, you begin to see this animal as I do. I present a swirl of perspectives on one of our world’s most sentient creatures.
You can view all the images in the carousel below.
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