Selections from the series Inherit the Dust and This Empty World

“[Nick Brandt’s] astonishing images… deliver the emotional shock rarely felt, but urgently needed, to accelerate global conservation.”
–E.O. Wilson, biologist and naturalist

This exhibition presents works from two of Nick Brandt’s series, Inherit the Dust and This Empty World.  Through his photographs, Brandt creates a vision of environmental devastation, with both human and animal victims suffering in the aftermath of progress.  Brandt envisions a world overwhelmed by development, where there is no longer space for animals to survive.

In Inherit the Dust, Brandt records the impact of humans in places where animals used to roam. In each location— now a site of urban development, factories, wasteland and quarries—he erects and re-photographs a panel showing one of his life-size animal portrait photographs. 

In This Empty World, Brandt combines two moments in time, often captured weeks or months apart from the same locked-off camera position. After building and lighting an initial set, Brandt waits for the animals that previously inhabited the region to slowly become comfortable enough to enter the frame. Once the animals are captured on camera, full sets—bridge and highway construction sites, a petrol station, a bus station and more—are built. A second sequence is then photographed with the full set and a large cast of people drawn from local communities and beyond.

This exhibition has been made possible through the generosity of Meg and Bennett Goodman.

This exhibition is co-sponsored by the Department of Biological SciencesOffice of International AffairsAfricana Studies Program, and the Office of Sustainability.

About Nick Brandt

Nick Brandt (born 1964) is an English photographer, whose work focuses on the rapidly disappearing natural world, as a result of environmental destruction, climate change and human actions.  Raised in London, Brandt studied painting and then film at Saint Martin's School of Art.  He moved to California in 1992 where he directed numerous award-winning music videos for artists including Michael Jackson, Moby, Jewel, and XTC among others.  In 1995 while directing Jackson’s "Earth Song" in Tanzania, Brandt first encountered the animals and landscape that would later inspire him to address the global ecological crisis through innovative photographic strategies in works like Inherit the Dust and This Empty World.

Learn more about the series Inherit the Dust by watching the videos INHERIT THE DUST : the concept, by NICK BRANDT and Nick Brandt: Inherit the Dust | National Geographic Nordic on YouTube.