During the weeks preceding my trip to Kenya I seemed to give a huge and probably disproportionate amount of thought to photographing elephants. Out of all of the mammals I knew I would photograph I had a very specific composition of an elephant which I wished to capture. I also knew it had to be in black and white too!
When you remove the colour from a photograph it gives so much more emphasis towards the shape, composition and texture of the subject. Elephants are naturally a dull colour to start with and the features and texture of their hide can be emphasised so much more with the simplicity of black & white photography.
My first ‘requirement’ was for a head on composition with the eyes and top of the trunk being the key recognisable features. I wanted the frame completely filled by the elephant with no background of foliage or sky. On our last morning out in the conservancy I had just the opportunity. A bull elephant we had seen a couple of days previously came straight towards our vehicle looking right at us!
We saw this same elephant a few times, quite sadly he was recognisable by a wound to the abdomen on his right hand side. He was quite obliging though and came close enough to let me try a few ‘abstract’ compositions, something out of the ordinary but still with a view to converting the photographs to a black and white or split tone finish.