Nick Brandt - Inherit the Dust

Nick Brandt - Inherit the Dust.jpg
Nick Brandt - Inherit the Dust.jpg
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Nick Brandt - Inherit the Dust


Inherit the Dust

Three years after the conclusion of his trilogy, On This Earth, A Shadow Falls Across the Ravaged Land, Nick Brandt returns to East Africa to photograph the escalating changes to the continent’s natural world.

In a series of epic panoramas, Brandt records the impact of man in places where animals used to roam, but no longer do. In each location, Brandt erects a life size panel of one of his animal portrait photographs, setting the panels within a world of explosive urban development, factories, wasteland and quarries.

The people within the photographs are oblivious to the presence of the panels and the animals featured in them, who are now no more than ghosts in the landscape. Some of the animals in the panels appear to be looking out at these destroyed landscapes with sadness, as if lamenting the loss of the world they once inhabited. By the end, we see that it is not just the animals who are the victims in this out of control world, but also the humans.

The panoramas constitute 2/3 of the book. The final third features portraits of the animals that were featured in the life-size panels, the kind of unique emotional animal portraiture for which Brandt is recognized.

Brandt contributes two essays: The first deals with the crisis facing the conservation of the natural world in East Africa, and the work of Big Life Foundation, the non-profit he cofounded in 2010, is doing to protect a critical part of it.

The second essay is a behind-the-scenes description of the elaborate production, with accompanying making-of photos.



"Nick Brandt’s ravishing portraits of African animals are like premonitory memorials, taken to aid the cause of staving off extinction. In Inherit the Dust, his astonishing panoramas of those portraits – installed as life-size panels in industrial and urban wastelands that have trampled the animals’ habitats – are a jolting combination of beauty, decay, and admonishment. The result is an eloquent and complex 'J’accuse,' for the people are as victimized by 'development' as the animals are. The breadth, detail, and incongruity of Brandt’s panoramas suggest a collision between Bruegel and an apocalypse in waiting."

Vicki Goldberg, Art Critic, Author

"The wasted lands in Inherit The Dust were once golden savannah, sprinkled with acacia trees, where elephants, big cats and rhinos roamed.  These now dystopian landscapes – as Nick Brandt’s unvarnished, harrowing but stunning work reveals – brings us face to face with a crisis, both social and environmental, demanding the renewal of humanity itself."
Kathryn Bigelow, Film Director, The Hurt Locker

"The images in Inherit The Dust are heart-wrenching and important. This tough new series is a call to action – if it is not too late – and pulls no punches in confronting us with the devastation of their habitat."
Philippe Garner, Co-Chairman, Christies

"With Inherit The Dust, the quiet dignity of the animals that Nick Brandt photographs is shockingly juxtaposed against the indignity and disarray of our own. These haunting photographs force us to think about what we are doing, and who is at stake."
Carl Safina, Author, Biologist, Beyond Words, What Animals Think & Feel

"Nick Brandt's magnificent, remarkable and truly original 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

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