Lewa, Kenya 2017
Andy Warhol once said “My favourite colour is black and my other favourite colour is white”. On the basis of this alone, I fancy that this image might have struck a chord with him. I have been seeking an abstract image like this for some time and have consistently failed partly because the zebra is so skittish and this has prevented me from getting close enough to play with the patterns.
But the bigger issue is that if all the zebras are on the same piece of at land, as is usually the case, one animal tends to block the body of those behind. As I thought about the riddle, it dawned on me that the odds of success would narrow if I could find zebras stacked on a hill. This rules out the majority of locations because of their flat topography.
Lewa was therefore going to be my best chance of an outstanding image – there are hills and steep areas where the zebra can congregate. Of course there is no assurance that zebras will be in these areas at the same time as my camera lens. But the more time I employed the greater the chance of success.
I had then to get lucky with the formations. The grevy zebra, for which Lewa is renowned, also have such distinctive and pristine stripes that are thinner than other breeds to the south. The stripes are also very much white on a black background as opposed to black on a white coat and this works well.
When this image presented itself in my viewfinder, I could not quite believe my luck. Thank goodness I remembered to press the shutter. Every grevy in the world has distinctive markings and this image makes that point with a clarity that will be difficult to beat.