In my mind, the zebra is the hardest animal in Africa to photograph well – particularly when they are on the run. This is for two reasons: firstly, they are extremely skittish and tend to run away from a cameraman long before he has found himself in a position to capture a special moment. Secondly, zebras can be ungainly when they run – it is all legs, arse and tail. There is little in the way of grace.
Equally portraits of stationary zebras have to have strong composition of their stripes to elicit attention. The world does not need another dull, full-frontal zebra shot taken with a long lens. That is simply pulp.
There is nothing ungainly about this zebra’s flight path and they can certainly shift. I was lying flat in the baking dirt to achieve the right perspective – no other angle would suffice. The laundry bill was worth it.
The picture will carry resonance for those with an interest in photographic history. It was, after all, an early photograph that proved unequivocally that a horse runs with all four feet off the ground. The same is certainly true of the zebra.