After the playful and erotically charged solo exhibition by German star photographer Ellen vonUnwerth who cast a spell over all of Munich with her HEIMAT series, the gallery IMMAGISinvites viewers to an homage to wildlife and its inhabitants starting on 24 November. InElephants in Heaven the photographer Joachim Schmeisser takes us on a very personaljourney to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where he documented orphaned elephant children,their guardians, and their daily fight against poachers. Approximately 25 works will be presentedas highlights from the book of the same name, and will include some large format prints as wellas elegant platinum palladium prints.
Because elephants are pachyderms, a combination of two Greek roots meaning “thick skin,” onemight think that nothing bothers them and that they lead quiet, safe lives. Nothing could befurther from the truth: elephants have been hunted and killed for their ivory tusks sinceantiquity. And people often ignore the calves left behind, who must now live out their lives astraumatized and fearful orphans. Wildlife photographer Joachim Schmeisser made it hismission to document the story of these abandoned baby elephants. Through his sponsorship ofelephants, he came into contact with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the world’s largestand most successful rescue and rehabilitation operation for orphaned elephants, headquarteredin Nairobi. Professional veterinary technicians bottle feed the elephant calves until they are oldenough to locate their own food. By living together with older elephant calves, they also learnthe social rules governing elephant herds. After this phase is complete, the elephants are takento one of the Trust’s rehabilitation stockades before they are released back into the wild. Withoutthe Trust, the elephant orphans would have no chance of survival. Joachim Schmeisser followednumerous elephants through the entire process and captured fascinating pictures from theirarrival at the nursery all the way to their release back into the wild. Elephants in Heavenprovides a visual record of how these traumatized elephants are raised in a place that is trulyheavenly for them, offering a compelling behind-the-scenes look inside an elephant nursery.
About the book: Elephants in Heaven. Joachim Schmeisser, published in September 2017 by teNeues, foreword by Dr. Matthias Harder (curator of the Helmut Newton Foundation) and Dame Daphne Sheldrick (founder of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust), 27.5 x 34 cm, 176 pages, hardcover, ca. 15 color and 93 black-and-white photographs, texts in German, English, and French, € 59.90; ISBN 978-3-96171-047-8