It took four years to make this portrait, with several failed attempts between 2017 and 2021. Lugard was perhaps the most outstanding living tusker in Africa, so a portrait would need to serve him justice without compromise.
From the moment I first laid eyes on Lugard from the Tsavo Trust supercub, I was instantly mesmerised by his towers of ivory, and it became a great ambition to make a portrait. I shared one unforgettable moment with Richard Moller (Tsavo Trust CEO & Co-Founder) in 2018 when we were approaching Lugard on foot whilst he slept beneath a tree in the mid-day heat. As we reached a termite mound for cover, only a few metres from Lugard, I stepped on a small stick which at the time sounded like the most deafeningly loud sound imaginable. Lugard awoke immediately, boldly warning us as we remained hidden behind the termite mound. I managed to capture a photograph through a hole in the mound before we retreated to our vehicle. At moments like this, away from our tamed and materialistic world, you realise that we are a tiny part of something much more significant than us.
Tragically on 21st November 2022, Lugard was found dead by Tsavo Trust on a routine reconnaissance flight. Thankfully, Lugard had passed away from natural causes. He was an old 55-year-old elephant, and the ongoing intense drought has undoubtedly contributed. The Tsavo Trust, in partnership with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), has monitored Lugard for nearly nine years. Over that period, they have observed Lugard almost once every single week, an incredible achievement considering Tsavo is the size of Switzerland and Lugard moved between both Tsavo East & West. Undoubtedly, this monumental effort has contributed to Lugard’s long and natural life.
On 22nd November, I had the privilege of joining Richard Moller to say our farewells to the fallen giant and document the end of a long chapter. It was very upsetting to be with Lugard after his death but so encouraging to witness proof that even Super Tuskers can live a full life. Lugard’s genes have been spread far and wide across the ecosystem. The future for The Last Great Tuskers of Africa is far from over.
Lugard leaves a great legacy beyond fathering dozens of offspring and inspiring many of us with his colossal proportions. His well-documented movement between Tsavo East & West (which involves navigating across railway lines and the busiest road in the country) has allowed for the construction of the Manyani and other elephant underpasses, allowing thousands of elephants for generations to come to venture across the vast landscape.
Small -18"x22.71" Edition of 8. (Archival Pigment Print)
Medium - 28"x35.33" Edition of 8. (Archival Pigment Print)
Classic - 38"x47.96" Edition of 6. (Silver Gelatin Print)
Platinum Palladium print available in a custom size up to 40"x60" as an edition of 1.