Taking a portrait of such a prestigious lion poses several complications. Depicted is Scar, who was arguably the worlds most famous lion, meaning his picture had been taken a fair few times, raising the bar for me to capture something unique.
Scar is an appropriate name, considering his injuries over the years, but his story is quite different from the character featured in Disney’s Lion King. Scar was around 12 when I took this photograph, and he was the oldest lion in the reserve. Over his years, he and his brothers dominated two prides in the reserve, including the most famous of all, the Marsh Pride, which has been featured in BBC films. He has also survived a spear wound from a Maasai Warrior and received his infamous facial injury while expanding his territories in 2011, giving him the name Scar.
There are countless photographs of him in his prime, but never from this perspective, which truly elevates him like the king he was. Scars story became most relevant at the later stages of his life, so I think it was the most appropriate time to make his portrait. His pride remained intensely loyal to their king even though he was injured with a severe limp and could not feed or protect himself. He was hunted for, was the first to eat, and was protected from other threats like menacing hyenas and intruding male lions that would most certainly seize the opportunity to kill such a rival. He also had a loyal female by his side at all times, eager to continue his genes onto further generations. It is remarkable in the world of lions that he was cared for in such a way, and it is a testament to what an incredible individual he was.
Scar’s expression is reminiscent of a Roman Emperor, too worthy of looking one in the eye, but there is a subtle sarcasm as if he says “tis but a scratch,” even though he was clearly in his final days.
However, the appearance of Scar is precisely how I imagine the rock star Robert Smith from The Cure would look like if he were a lion. The resemblance is mysterious.
Small - 18"x22.73" Edition of 10. (Archival Pigment Print)
Classic - 30"x37.89" Edition of 10. (Silver Gelatin Print)
Large - 40"x50.53" Edition of 10. (Silver Gelatin Print)
Exclusive to Lyons Gallery, AUS.