Amboseli, Kenya 2018
My instinct is that this photograph has to be printed big. To print it small seems suboptimal, rather like buying a house three miles from the sea. He is there, and he is huge – perhaps the world’s biggest elephant. Why would anyone want to scale down his enormity? For interested collectors, the only question that matters with this image is the size of the available vacant wall space.
Tim roams around a 100 km2 area inside and outside Amboseli National Park. He is tagged and well protected by the KWS rangers and we all hope and believe that when he passes, it will simply be through old age. It will still be a sad day as he is without doubt the most magnificent looking elephant in the world – half elephant, half mammoth. To be in his company and to be this close is an exhilarating and primeval experience. I have been lucky to have had many full-on encounters with alpha animals, but none beats this.
I knew what I wanted to achieve – textural intensity, a sense of scale and a ground level perspective. This combination requires nerve and the company of experienced rangers with a knowledge of Tim’s behaviour. Camera settings were also more vital than normal as I wanted the detail of a Vermeer painting. As I was lying on the ground I was already envisaging the end image being printed the size of a table tennis table.
I have now seen it that size and it’s visually spellbinding. Thank Tim and modern technology – not me!
– David Yarrow