Kenya 2010: An Elephant Story

Is there a place for photographs in this age of the web, instant video, and live streaming?

The ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico reminds us that a moment in time, captured as a photograph, continues to have power and can invoke unanticipated emotion. While we all can watch the oil spewing from a severed pipe and imagine the consequences of this type of negligence, it is a photograph of the beached whale, oiled bird, or devastated person that ensnares our heart and mind.

There is power in the hidden story behind every still image. Rather than seeing what happens, the still requires us, the viewer, to invent the past and predict the future. This type of unknown makes for a mystery that our human brains are compelled to ponder. It is this unknown that makes pictures so captivating and thought provoking.

While life may be stranger than fiction, every picture tells a story that is narrated by the imagination in each of us. This story is defined by an untold past and an uncertain future. It is a story that is defined by the viewer, a mystery that continues to empower the still image in this post-modern age.

All of these images were taken at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi Kenya. The David Sheldrick Trust rescues baby elephants whose mothers were poached. The elephant keepers are a devoted lot. They sleep with the orphans, feed them, and teach the babies how to forage in their natural habitats. After three years of intense care and training, the elephants are released into national parks where they will form their own herd or join an pre-existing group. The orphans are tracked throughout their lives and have been known to recognize and greet their foster parents (the keepers) many years following their release into the wild. 

You can learn more about the Elephant Orphanage and contribute to their cause by visiting them in Nairobi, Kenya or on online at:

©2000-2010 / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission