Why’s This So Good? Brent Stirton Blood Ivory

Brent Stirton is a South African photographer based in New York who specializes in documentary work.His photography is different from other photojournalists in the field because he often times uses lighting in the field. His photography has been featured in National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, and many other prestigious publications. All of his pictures portray a powerful message about whichever topic he is focusing on. I wanted to focus on him because a lot of his photography is related to endangered species and environmental issues.

His most recent work is on the Illegal Ivory Trade in Africa. His photo story “Blood Ivory” shows how horrible the impact the ivory trade is on the lives of elephants in Africa. Each year thousands of elephants die each years so their tusks can be sold. His photographs go back and forth between the elephants, their dead bodies after poachers have stripped their bodies of ivory, and of the products that are made from ivory.

The first photo shows the living elephants, which is something that could not necessarily be as impacting with words. The second photo in the story is the largest crucifix made of ivory, which dates back to the early 1600s. It shows how the ivory trade has been around for a long time, but is very prevalent today. The third photo is a home of a Filipino ivory collector. The fourth photo is by far the most powerful. It shows the corpses of three dead elephants after they were killed. There faces and bodies are torn to pieces. This picture is extremely emotional.

When looking at the picture shown below I was didn’t originally notice the background which is the most important part of the picture. I don’t even have words to describe this picture. This picture alone should move people to stop the selling of ivory.

The reason I find his photos so powerful are because they capture events that could never be described as accurately and as precisely with words. His photography is something to aspire to because he takes such powerful and moving pictures.

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