The Orphans of Reteti.
Namunyak Conservancy, Kenya, 2020.  
20% of sales in aid of Reteti Elephant Sanctuary.
The idea of this image came to life while enjoying a sundowner on Borana with Michael Dyer (Managing Director, Borana Conservancy) one evening. After discussing the crazy dream of an idea, I couldn't sleep thinking about how this would even be possible to pull off or how I would even get access to make such a photograph. I thank Michael Dyer and Ian Craig (NRT, Director of Conservation) immensely for their introduction to the delightful community at Reteti.

Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is the first community-owned and run elephant sanctuary in Africa. It was an honour to partner with them for this shoot, and I thank them dearly for their patients in the months of planning it took to make this a reality. The sanctuary rescues orphaned, abandoned, injured, and trapped baby elephants. After being safely rescued, the journey back to the wilderness in which they were found begins immediately. Over a roughly three-year period, they will learn all the necessary survival skills and become strong enough to venture freely once again.

I interpret the rock painting by the talented street artist Mantra as a symbol of remembrance for the orphaned elephants' lost parents. Thanks to the dedicated community at Reteti, these orphans now have a second chance in life.

The elephant depicted on the rock was a well-known individual to the local community, and many members visit the rock to remember him. Mantra painted him using a photograph taken by the fantastic NatGeo photographer, Ami Vitale.

The logistics required to make this moment happen were not straightforward, and in fact, none of the elephants had ever been to the rock, as it is located a few kilometres from the sanctuary making this a first for all involved. The orphans are on a strict feeding schedule; therefore, we timed the journey to the rock so that the feeding would take place on arrival allowing a 20-minute window before the elephants would have to return in time for the next feed.

Of course, there was no guarantee the elephants would face the correct direction or line up beautifully as I had imagined in my dreams. This truth hit home on the first attempt as a few of the elephants walked straight towards me and others walked out of the frame before any composition had presented itself. We got very close to a perfect shot on one occasion, but one elephant was turned sideways, blocking the face of another elephant, ruining the composition. For our final attempt, Yusuf (Head Keeper) came up with an idea. We collected some acacia seeds (a favourite treat for the elephants) and spread them out in a line so that all 14 elephants could eat simultaneously. They formed a line and thankfully chose to face me and not the rock creating an opportunity that lasted for less than 1 minute. The moment I took this frame remains one of my most treasured memories of all.

Moments later, we celebrated all together by eating honey collected by one of the keepers from a nearby tree. I will always treasure the moments I shared with the community at Reteti, and I recommend all to visit, if ever in Kenya. It is a project where the elephants benefit the community as much as the community helps the elephants.

This rock has historically been a hideout for elephant poachers, and today it is a place where community members, elders, visitors, and now orphaned elephants gather. It is a powerful message of what we are all capable of changing if we put our minds to it. These orphans are happy, eating at a place previously associated with poachers. I wish each of them the best of luck, and I hope to cross paths with them again in the future, back in the wild.
Platinum - 30”x44.83” (unframed) Platinum Palladium. Edition of 1.
X Large -  58”x86.68” (unframed) Archival Pigment Print. Edition of 3.
Large – 48”x71.73” (unframed) Silver Gelatin. Edition of 6.
Standard – 38”x56.79” (unframed) Silver Gelatin. Edition of 6.
Medium - 28”x41.84" (unframed) Archival Pigment. Edition of 8.
Small - 18”x26.90” (unframed) Archival Pigment. Edition of 8.
Lethal Looks.
Maasai Mara, Kenya, 2020.  
20% of sales in aid of The Mara Elephant Project.
 If looks alone could kill.

I was immediately drawn to this lioness. She is one of the most beautiful lionesses I have ever seen, so I felt it should be the critical component of the image, with no need to include anything else. Cloudless mornings can often be a challenge, but it played a role in the success of this image as it allows for a strong instant connection.

She is the loyal female to arguably, the most famous lion in the world, Scar. Scar is thought to have lived for more than 15 years and be the oldest lion in the Maasai Mara. Over his years, he and his brothers have dominated two prides in the reserve, including the most famous of all, the Marsh Pride, which featured in BBC films. He has also survived a spear wound from a Maasai Warrior and received his defining facial injury while expanding his territories in 2011.

It is only fitting for such a powerful lion to have a lioness in her prime by his side. It is as if Scar's story has become most interesting towards the end of his life. Scar, although severely injured, continues to be protected by his entire pride from menacing hyenas and other intruding male lions. As well as being protected, he is the first to eat even though he is unable to hunt himself. It was surreal to spend time with a limping lion that commanded such respect from all around him. It is nothing but remarkable in the world of lions that he has been cared for in such a way which is a testament to what an incredible individual he is.

I captured the frame using a remote camera which poses complications with wild lions. I have found they either pay the camera no attention or decide they want it for themselves. Unfortunately, it is more often than not the latter that results in the best images. For this reason, I use a customised protective box and make my attempts early in the morning when lions are most active. Then, it's just a matter of time before they get bored, and I can retrieve the camera to see what was captured. On this occasion, it was a success.
Platinum - 30”x40.82” (unframed) Platinum Palladium. Edition of 1.
X Large -  58”x78.95” (unframed) Archival Pigment Print. Edition of 3.
Large – 48”x65.34” (unframed) Silver Gelatin. Edition of 6.
Standard – 38”x51.73” (unframed) Silver Gelatin. Edition of 6.
Medium - 28”x38.11" (unframed) Archival Pigment. Edition of 8.
Small - 18”x24.50” (unframed) Archival Pigment. Edition of 8.
The Queen of Tsavo.
Tsavo, Kenya, 2021.  
20% of sales in aid of Tsavo Trust.
 I can never do anything to prepare myself for coming face to face with a Big Tusker elephant. Each time, it is as if it were the first. I am left in total shock and am instantly teleported to times long ago where sights like this were more common. Never have I encountered any animal or human that commands instant silence and such an amount of respect from all around. Yet, today there are fewer than 25 across the entire African continent. Once prized by hunters as trophies, today prized by poachers for overseas markets. They are on the brink of existence. 
The first time I met Dida was in 2017, and I remember Richard (Founder & CEO, Tsavo Trust) telling me every time he sees her, he believes it will be his last. At the beginning of 2021, she ventured away from her herd, which matriarchs do when they feel their time has come. Another giant cow tusker named Mudanda did precisely this before she died in 2017, and so the Tsavo Trust were worried that Dida’s days were almost over. Following some favourable rains, she is remarkably still with us and reunited with her herd looking in better condition. This granted me the opportunity to photograph her again four years later, something I could never have imagined. Dida is one of the oldest matriarchs in Africa, at close to 60 years old. She has guided her herd for decades across a landscape the size of Switzerland. I cannot begin to imagine the knowledge she holds or the stories she could tell of periods of extreme poaching and immense droughts.
In April, I partnered with the Tsavo Trust and spent a week with a monitoring team following her every move. Tsavo can be a tricky location to photograph, with much of the landscape covered in thick bush. Waterholes can sometimes offer opportunities if you can get into position before the elephants arrive to drink. Without the Tsavo Trust’s knowledge, this portrait would not exist.
To me, Dida represents hope and the resilience of nature when given a chance to thrive. It is remarkable that creatures not so different from mammoths still exist in 2021 despite our best efforts over generations. My sincere appreciation and thanks go to the Tsavo Trust for their years of dedication to keeping these last Big Tuskers alive in the wild. Today, they monitor over 30 “up and coming” emerging tuskers that will become the Big Tuskers of tomorrow. With continued efforts, we may witness a time where there are more tuskers in Africa than there are today.
Platinum - 30”x40.48” (unframed) Platinum Palladium. Edition of 1.
X Large - 58”x78.27” (unframed) Archival Pigment Print. Edition of 3.
Large – 48”x64.77” (unframed) Silver Gelatin. Edition of 6.
Standard – 38”x51.28” (unframed) Silver Gelatin. Edition of 6.
Medium - 28”x37.78 (unframed) Archival Pigment. Edition of 8.
Small - 18”x24.29” (unframed) Archival Pigment. Edition of 8.
The Huntress of Namiri.
Serengeti, Tanzania, 2021.  
20% of sales in aid of The Serengeti Cheetah Project.
Eastern Serengeti is a vast expanse of open plains and is one of the few remaining strongholds for cheetah. Namiri is an area that was closed to tourism for two decades to rebuild numbers and conduct vital research for identifying why this most elegant of cats is on a quiet road to extinction. Today, Africa is home to only 7,100 individuals. They have disappeared from over 90% of their historical ranges as competition for land continues to rise. Cheetahs are perhaps the least adaptive to shrinking habitats of the big cats because larger predators put them and their cubs at significant risk. The Serengeti Cheetah Project found that in the past, cheetahs positioned themselves in further off regions in ecosystems, away from concentrated game where lion and hyena dominate. They also found that only 5% of cheetah cubs survive their first two years, and this figure is decreasing because they are forced into areas with greater competition due to human encroachment on habitat.
Over the week in Serengeti, we encountered 19 different cheetahs, but this brief moment is perhaps my fondest memory of all. We found this female cheetah on the hunt, searching for her next target. However, the moments in nature with an element of calmness and silence are what I search for. At the time, it feels as if time has been paused, with nothing else existing but me and the subject. At this very moment, I am totally connected and can make the image. These few and far between moments pass by in a matter of seconds, but to me, they feel like minutes that stay with me forever as memories and in photographs. Termite mounds are dotted across the vast plains of Eastern Serengeti, providing the perfect vantage point for cheetahs on the hunt, but they also form an idyllic stage for intimate portraiture that assists in an undisturbed connection. 
For cheetahs to have a future, we have a lot of work to do in putting them on a stage for the world to see how threatened they have become. I hope my portrait will raise awareness for our fastest land mammal and support The Serengeti Cheetah Project. Their dedicated research can lead to a fine-tuned conservation strategy to better protect cheetahs across Africa as we advance into a more uncertain future. 
Platinum - 30”x32.29” (unframed) Platinum Palladium. Edition of 1.
X Large - 58”x62.44” (unframed) Archival Pigment Print. Edition of 3.
Large – 48”x51.67” (unframed) Silver Gelatin. Edition of 6.
Standard – 38”x40.91” (unframed) Silver Gelatin. Edition of 6.
Medium - 28”x30.14 (unframed) Archival Pigment. Edition of 8.
Small - 18”x19.37” (unframed) Archival Pigment. Edition of 8.
Colossal Craig.
Amboseli, Kenya, 2020.  
20% of sales in aid of Big Life Foundation.
I find it a daunting task to portray such a famous and well-photographed individual, and I think most photographers from all genres would agree. For a new image to be a success, something must be unique, which is not always easy.
After Tim's passing (the largest recorded tusker in over 35 years), Craig is arguably the most famous of all African elephants. Of course, it was primarily due to his mammoth-like tusks, but Craig is such an exceptional elephant in that his character is as unique as his ivory. I found it hard to understand how trusting and friendly this elephant was when he is well aware of the danger his most magnificent feature places him. I have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with several tuskers over the past few years. On several occasions, I have witnessed them sticking their tusks inside bushes to hide them from humans, face the opposite direction, or other elephants moving in front to conceal the mighty tusks.
His character is as unique as his tusks because, within the same Ecosystem, other tuskers such as Tolstoy do not have anything like the same temperament. If Craig were not the legend that he is, this portrait would not exist. 
I wanted my portrait of Craig to be different from anything I had taken before, which is why I chose to visit the Amboseli Ecosystem in October when the dust becomes the defining feature of the area. I used a remote-controlled camera not to disturb him with a vehicle blocking his path. However, when he heard the first click of my camera, he stopped, which caused the ultra-fine Amboseli dust to rise around him. I took five photographs before he continued walking towards the water, and in the next frame, the dust covers the bottom half of the frame, distracting our attention from his tusks. 
I see the end photograph as an almost biblical scene with Craig appearing to be standing within the clouds. What could be a better setting for one of the largest and most famous elephants on our planet?
I want to mention special thanks to Richard Bonham (Big Life Co-Founder, CEO) for facilitating the Big Life Partnership and for hosting me in the Chyulu Hills since I was 18 years old. To Daniel (Big Life Ranger) for being with me every moment of each day and for his dedication to conservation. Without his knowledge, understanding, and excellent tracking skills, this image would never have materialised. And to the entire Big Life Foundation team for their dedicated efforts in securing a future for the entire Ecosystem and the people and wildlife that live within.
Platinum - 30" x 31.17" (unframed) Platinum Palladium Print. Edition of 1. 
X Large - 58" x 60.27" (unframed) Archival Pigment Print. Edition of 3.
Large - 48" x 49.88" (unframed) Silver Gelatin Print. Edition of 6.
Standard - 38" x 39.48" (unframed) Silver Gelatin Print. Edition of 6. 
Medium - 28" x 29.09" (unframed) Archival Pigment Print. Edition of 8.
Small - 18" x 18.70" (unframed) Archival Pigment Print. Edition of 8.
© James Lewin Photography 2018-2021
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