Michael Nichols, ‘Virtues family, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya, 2007’, Aperture Foundation

Aperture is pleased to release these stunning limited-edition prints by Michael “Nick” Nichols, the acclaimed National Geographic photographer. These prints coincide with the Aperture publication A Wild Life: A Visual Biography of Photographer Michael Nichols. In every one of his images, Nichols touches the very spirit of wildness.

This image was made at the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. Until this point Nichols had not encountered elephants who were not fearful of man. Melissa Harris, author of A Wild Life, notes, “Photographing individual elephants and their families in conducive circumstances allowed for an intensity of observation over long periods each day, for many days in a row. This pacing took Nick’s understanding, and thus his reportage, to new levels of intimacy and intricacy. Still, the conditions had to be right. Until this point, Nick says, ‘I had never photographed elephants who were not afraid. . . . The forest elephants in Congo, and then the elephants in Chad . . . knew man as hunter. I’d get downwind of them, so I could sneak up on them for a photograph, but there was never the chance to peacefully and openly observe behavior.’” With the Samburu elephants, Nichols was able to take a “concentric-circles approach” to examining individual animals, family structures, and larger clans—all within a specific environment.

Signature: Signed and numbered by the artist

About Michael Nichols