It’s difficult to describe how I felt lying flat on the ground with a two-tonne rhino only a few feet in front of me. It was, without a doubt, one of my most treasured memories and one I will never forget. It was an absolute privilege to be within arm’s reach of such an iconic and endangered species. During my trip, I lay on the ground in front of several carefully selected rhinos and remember feeling a little unnerved at first as these colossal mammals approached me, not knowing that I was there. But I soon began to realise how kind-natured and peaceful these prehistoric-looking giants are if unprovoked.
I never imagined creating such an energetic and dynamic photograph of a usually relaxed white rhino. I remained utterly motionless inside a small hole until the rhino was within reach of my wide-angle lens. Rhinos have famously lousy eyesight and positioning myself downwind, the rhino had no idea I was there. It is a remarkable feeling to be immersed in their surroundings and be part of their world without forced interaction. Still unaware that I was there, I released my camera shutter, which startled him, causing him to quickly turn around and jog away.
The strongest photographs are ones that cannot be remade. I don’t know if this will be considered a strong photograph, but I am confident that nothing like this will ever be made again. I aim for my portraits to magnify the status of the subject whilst at the same time having a sense of intimacy which I hope will allow the viewer to share a few of the same emotions I felt whilst within a few feet of my subjects.
It took several months of planning to get in the position to take this photograph, and I owe huge thanks to my unbelievably talented guide Ole, and the dedicated team at Solio Conservancy, who protect their resident population of Black and White rhinos. Solio is a stronghold for rhinos in Kenya and has been a vital player in translocating rhinos to other regions where the species had become locally extinct.
Small -18"x27.86" Edition of 8. (Archival Pigment Print)
Medium - 28"x43.34" Edition of 8. (Archival Pigment Print)
Classic - 38"x58.82" Edition of 6. (Silver Gelatin Print)
Large - 48"x74.30" Edition of 6. (Silver Gelatin Print)
Platinum Palladium print available in a custom size up to 40"x60" as an edition of 1.