“The last of his kind”
Emotive images from the Andaman Islands, a fascinating yet almost forgotten archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Photographer Jody MacDonald travelled to the tropical island of Havelock in order to find Rajan, an Asian elephant. This pachyderm came to the artist’s attention through a documentary and is the very last ocean swimming elephant. MacDonald accompanied the magnificent creature for a number of days, capturing their time together in the powerful series of images: “The last of his kind”.
The works are touching, not only because of their instant visual appeal, but also because of the unique story behind them. Elephants have been used for a range of tasks on the Indian islands, including the transportation of lumber. In order to bring logs to boats waiting offshore, the elephants learned how to swim. When logging was prohibited on the islands in 2002, these elephants were left to pursue their lives in the wild. Rajan, however, continues to enjoy his (now voluntary) trips into the water. Inspired by his story, MacDonald presents Rajan as a gentle giant in the midst of a tropical rainforest, one that feels like the Garden of Eden. The works appear almost transcendental, with Rajan strolling through the luscious, green rainforest or swimming in turquoise water. MacDonald captures the individual scenes with artistic finesse, giving the viewer a sense of how similar we really are to this awesome animal.
Even under the most difficult of conditions, MacDonald is a true master of her trade, able to take perfectly composed shots with an unfaltering sense of their aesthetics. As she explains, “My fuel, my drive, my being comes from capturing a precious split-second in time”. Since MacDonald spends almost the entire year travelling, her images portray both the magic of faraway lands and her own reverence for the beauty of our world. Inspiration for her work comes from, amongst other artists, Sam Abell and Steve McCurry.
|2012||The World Open Photography Competition |
|2010||International Conservation Photography Award, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle, USA|