Anastasia Photo is pleased to present Michael “Nick” Nichols’ first exhibition at the gallery featuring two of the subjects Nichols is most passionate about — lions and elephants.
Nearly a century ago, there were as many as two hundred thousand lions in Africa. Today, the most recent surveys estimate that there are fewer than thirty thousand wild lions. Over the course of two years in the Serengeti, Nichols and his colleagues documented the complex lives of lions, the “only feline that’s truly social, living in prides and coalitions, the size and dynamics of which are determined by an intricate balance of evolutionary costs and benefits.”1 The culminating body of work is featured in this exhibition as well as the August 2013 issue of National Geographic.
Nichols has been working with African elephants for more than twenty years. Decades of work exploring their life in the wild, the ivory trade, family interactions and programs for orphaned elephants are featured in his new exhibition and book titled Earth to Sky (Aperture, 2013), an homage to elephants and a plea for more wild places to be left wild. Nichols’ introduction to elephants and indeed, to true wildness, took place in the early 1990s, when he went to photograph lowland gorillas in the Central African Republic, surveying a virtually uninhabited 1,200 mile corridor of Africa by foot, with scientist and conservationist J. Michael Fay for National Geographic Magazine. The central characters of this journey were the forest elephants and the highway trails they created. Elephants are among the earth’s most sentient beings. They remember, they experience grief and joy, fear and love. As our knowledge of these extraordinary creatures increases, the more they transcend all preconceptions of animal behavior.
Nichols first assignment was a cave shoot for Geo magazine in 1979, which led to a series of adventure stories including his coverage of the Mountain Gorilla Project’s innovative education and eco-tourism work. As a result, he was nominated in 1982 as a member of the famous Magnum Photos photojournalist collective. The primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall also saw what he could do, and the two worked together on Brutal Kinship, a book featuring our relationship with chimpanzees. He started shooting for National Geographic with the knowledge that “when the Geographic does a story, it reaches so many people that you really can effect change.” Since 1989, he’s had more than 30 stories published, becoming a staff photographer in 1996 and later the magazine’s editor-at-large for photography. Many of the stories have been transformational, for the places and animals as well as for Nick himself.
Anastasia Photo specializes in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism. The gallery space also serves as a center for discussion and portfolio review. In an attempt to further connect these photographic images and the events they depict, Anastasia Photo endows each exhibition with a related philanthropic organization. For this exhibition, we have chosen the Long Shields Lion Guardians.