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Nick Brandt: This Empty World

Nick Brandt


Working in colour for the first time, Nick Brandt’s latest project uses complex composition and dramatically cinematic staging to highlight environmental degradation in the world and its effect on both animal and human life

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This Empty World, Nick Brandt’s new monograph, features a series of dramatically staged photographs that bring together and reveal the animals and people of East Africa as the victims of environmental degradation in an emotionally powerful, cinematic way.

Moving into colour photography for the first time, the work is both a technical tour-de-force and a massively ambitious project in which the sets are constructed on a scale typically seen in major film production. Each panoramic image is a combination of two moments in time, almost all of them captured weeks apart from the exact same camera position.

Brandt first builds and lights a partial set, then waits for the animals that inhabit the region to enter the frame. Once captured on camera, the full set is built with the camera remaining fixed in place. The sets include bridge and highway construction sites, a petrol station, a bus station and even a dead forest. Completing the scene with a huge cast drawn from local communities, Brandt then photographs the second sequence. The final large scale prints are a composite of the two intricately plotted elements.

Viewed as a whole, the images vividly illustrate a world in which, overwhelmed by runaway human development, there is no longer space for animals to survive, and beg the question: what kind of world will we live in when stripped of its natural wonders.

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'Nick Brandt has captured in art, what our minds have could not have imagined … These images vividly remind us that a future without our wildlife and the options that they bring is a desperately poor one. It does not have to be this way. We just have to wake up and look at Brandt's images to see what we are doing'
Dr. Paula Kahumbu, O.G.W., Chief Executive Officer WildlifeDirect, Kenya

'Astonishing … a new genre of photography, both technological and conceptual, that brings together science and the visual arts … delivers the emotional shock rarely felt, but needed in full, to accelerate global conservation'
E.O. Wilson, Theorist, Biologist & Author

'Shows how wildlife and humans collide on a grand scale'

'Powerful and haunting'

'A harrowing and deeply moving omen of a landscape devoid of its wildlife and essential life force'

'This work, for the first time in digital and in colour, shows us both the possibility and the impossibility of animals coexisting with man'
The Eye of Photography

'Brandt’s photographs – which never hide the fact that they have been staged – address this question. How can humanity co-exist with the natural world and at what cost?'
The Herald

'A collection of epic, eerie and beautiful panoramas'
Digital Camera Magazine

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 33.0 x 38.1 cm

Extent: 128 pp

Illustrations: 84

Publication date: 2 July 2019

ISBN: 9780500545140

Contents List

Introduction • Essay • The Plates • Bloodshot Eyes (and how they got that way), Nick Brandt

About the Author

Nick Brandt (b.1964) is an English-born, US-based photographer whose themes always relate to the disappearing natural world. He is the co-founder of the Big Life Foundation, in Kenya, where all of these photographs were shot.

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