Inherit The Dust

Nick Brandt’s remarkable new work, Inherit The Dust, is a photographic essay in environmental ethics. He asks, in the most stark fashion: ‘What are we doing to this planet? What have we gained, and what have we -and the other animals with whom we share our planet- lost?’  ~Peter Singer, Philosopher, Author, Animal Liberation


Nick Brandt, Wasteland With Lion detail, Photograph, Ed.of 15, 2015, Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, © Nick Brandt.

Edwynn Houk Gallery New York will debut photographer Nick Brandt’s newest photographic series “Inherit the Dust” 10 March – 30 April, 2016. The exhibition marks the artist’s first show at the gallery and is accompanied by a book of the same title published by Edwynn Houk Editions. Opening Reception with the Artist: Thursday, 10 March, 6pm- 8pm. Brandt will also be in conversation with Andrew Revkin, the New York Times dot Earth columnist, at the Strand Bookstore 9 March, 7 pm. There will be accompanying projection of photos, discussion of the new work and book signing.


Nick Brandt, Factory With Elephant detail, Photograph, Ed.of 15, 2014, Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, © Nick Brandt.

Best known for his intimate depictions of the animals and sweeping landscapes of East Africa, Nick Brandt has spent his career photographing and responding to the fragile ecosystem and increasing urbanization of Africa’s national parks and the surrounding areas. Disturbed by his observations of the disappearing natural world in these locations, Brandt’s photographs have consistently communicated an underlying message of preservation and activism for Africa’s wildlife. In 2010, he was prompted to action and co-founded Big Life Foundation to support anti-poaching initiatives across Africa’s borders.


Nick Brandt, Road To Factory With Zebra detail, Photograph, Ed.of 15, 2014, Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, © Nick Brandt.

In Brandt’s most recent series Inherit the Dust, the artist further addresses the intersection of Africa’s environment with the continent’s increasing industrial development in a collection of dramatic large-scale panoramic images. For this new work, Brandt has printed and enlarged his classic animal portraits to life-size and then photographed the panels placed within urban areas throughout Kenya. Executed with the cinematic beauty and intimate nature for which Brandt is known, the resulting images feature haunting depictions of Africa’s most majestic creatures as they seem to wander through a garbage wasteland or huddle beside a commercial factory.


Nick Brandt, Alleyway With Chipanzee detail, Photograph, Ed.of 15, 2014, Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, © Nick Brandt.

The resulting juxtaposition illustrates a poignant view of Africa’s contemporary state and the growth that has affected its human and animal populations alike. With each arresting and carefully framed photograph, Brandt calls attention to ecological and social dilemmas that ultimately extend beyond the people and wildlife of East Africa and encompass global environmental concerns.


Nick Brandt was born in London, UK 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.

For more on Brandt and The Big Life Foundation see previous posts: The Ravaged Land & World Elephant Day.


Nick Brandt, Inherit the Dust, Edwynn Houk Editions, New York, 2016, Hardcover, 124 pgs, 68 Tritone Photographs, 13 x 15 inches, 2016.

Three years after the completion of his trilogy, On This Earth, A Shadow Falls Across the Ravaged Land, Nick Brandt returned to East Africa to photograph the escalating changes to the continent’s natural world and its animals. In a series of epic panoramas, Brandt recorded the impact of man in places where animals used to roam, but no longer do. In each location, Brandt erected a life-size panel of one of his portrait-photographs showing groups of elephants, rhinos, giraffes, lions, cheetahs and zebras, placing the displaced animals on sites of explosive urban development, new factories, wastelands and quarries. The contemporary figures within the photographs seem oblivious to the presence of the panels and the animals represented in them, who are now no more than ghosts in the landscape.

Inherit the Dust includes this new body of panoramic photographs along with original portraits of the animals used in the panoramas, the unique emotional animal portraiture for which Brandt is recognized. There are also two essays by the artist: a text about the crisis facing the conservation of the natural world in East Africa, and behind-the-scenes descriptions of Brandt’s elaborate production process, with accompanying documentary photographs.

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