Much of my work in America has been played out on the canvas offered by ghost towns or communities that have been largely abandoned. I have long felt some sort of visceral pull toward this kind of narrative - it speaks to the fragility of mankind and the constancy of evolution. In 2020, these thoughts are central to us all.
In Amboseli, Kenya, a large tourist accommodation complex closed due to financial issues many years back. As is common here, it was never demolished and simply fenced off and left to ruin. There was no access for man nor animal and we used to just drive past and look at what we could see of the decaying village. But recently the weather and Covid 19 have taken hold and the deterioration appears to have markedly accelerated. Most significantly, the fencing has fallen apart and animals have taken over the facility. Buffalos are inside bedrooms and zebra graze on the football pitch.
I immediately saw a huge opportunity to make a picture, but for the ultimate visual disconnect, we needed to wait for an elephant family to pass through main street. For three days, nothing and then at 7.30am one bright morning, with Kilimanjaro towering above the ruins, it happened. I could barely contain my excitement at the narrative that was being created.
The end result is an authentic and symbolic image. The lead female cuts a powerful and dominant figure. I wonder whether this scene portends to what one day may come to pass. Elephants would consider that to be the ultimate justice.