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Cara Cigar

Dinokeng, South Africa - 2017
Dinokeng, South Africa

When a well-known photographer leaves this world, there is never the time or space to remember too much of
his or her work. There tends to be just three or four iconic images that transcend the overall body of work and will always be remembered. These three or four shots define a career.

I was not sure where my career would take me, and I was not sure if I had taken an iconic image yet — I let others decide. But I do know that this photograph, part of the TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” campaign, is probably one of the most powerful shots I have ever taken. Yes, it was a commercial shoot with one of the world’s most famous women, but I think it goes beyond that. It grabs the eye and then holds it in a viselike grip. Everything about the work is viscerally powerful.

I look back on that day with great emotion. There are so many people to thank, none more so than the British icon Cara Delevingne. She is of course stunning, but she is also authentic
and intelligent and couples these qualities with an admirable work ethic. Furthermore, on this day she was incredibly brave and fittingly did not crack under pressure. This image is
not manipulated; there were five yards between her and the lion. At no stage did she show tension or anxiety, and that made my job so much easier.

I think a key to the image was the reasonably powerful late-afternoon sunlight, as the shadows on both Cara and the lion are so consistent that the authenticity of the image can’t be questioned. In the morning, the light was flatter, and thus the lion and Cara were not as visually linked as they are here.

This campaign would not have been possible without the help of Kevin Richardson in South Africa and I thank him for the awareness he brings to the plight of the lion in Africa. We know each other so well and that day in December in South Africa was the culmination of a trust that has built up over 5 years of working with each other. Finally, I would like to thank Jean-Claude Bivet - the genius behind TAG Heuer - and Valerie Grande for always wearing a smile.

Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes

Framing options

Available Sizes (Framed Size)

Standard: 55" x 52"

Large: 75" x 71"

X-Large: 85" x 81"

Available Editions

20

20

20

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