Born in Germany in 1958, Joachim Schmeisser is best known for his major photographic series he has done in East Africa – his iconic portraiture of Elephants – especially the Orphan Elephants at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. He started this project in 2009 – during a stopover on a trip to the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the Hadzabe in Tanzania. Everything changed once he found himself surrounded by these baby elephants and his short travel break turned into a wonderful friendship and terrific project. It is still ongoing even today and has become a matter close to his heart. In 2012, Joachim Schmeisser won the prestigious Hasselblad Award for this work. In 2017 his book »Elephants in Heaven« was launched by the German Publisher teNeues and sold out within 4 months. His next book „The Last Of Their Kind“ will be published in Spring 2021 by teNeues.
Joachim Schmeisser’s intention is to show the beauty and uniqueness of our planet and to increase sensitivity for a topic that concerns us all. »I see the photos of the elephants as portraits of individuals who are our equals – far removed from spectacular wildlife photography. What interests me is what lies beneath the surface, out of sight, the quite yet intense encounters. I‘d like you to see the images as a window into a fascinating world, where everything is connected to everything else. Protecting this nature is our most important mission.«
About the series “The Last Of Their Kind”
For years, Joachim Schmeisser has been photographing the last giants of Africa at close range, creating exceptionally intimate portraits of species threatened with extinction.
In his series “The Last Of Their Kind” he focuses on the beauty of creation and its fragile transience. These striking images are timeless works that can be interpreted on different levels: as depictions of a distant past or as iconic memories in a not too distant future in which we can only admire these majestic creatures in zoos.
They are both an homage and a final warning – visual revelations that sharpen our clouded view of nature in all its infinite complexity as well as recognizing what treasures we might irretrievably lose.
“There is a very great danger that because of man’s lust for profit and his desire to kill, these stunningly beautiful creatures may become history all too soon.” Joachim Schmeisser.
The selection “HALL OF GIANTS” shows a selection of large-format portraits of some of the oldest and largest bull elephants in Africa as well as young elephants that have the potential to grow into Big Tuskers. These close-ups are extremely rare in the genre of wildlife photography. Of the Big Tuskers in Amboseli, they are the only ones that exist in this form.
All of the photographs were taken with medium-format cameras without the use of remote control devices or long lenses.