This Empty World, 2019
Nick Brandt’s series ‘This Empty World’ (2016–18) is a powerful visual polemic, which explores themes of environmental destruction wrought by human activity. Brandt uses colour for the first time, bringing a new immediacy to these environmental issues as experienced by both animals and humans. The project was constructed on Maasai land in Kenya. Each image combines two moments in time captured weeks apart, almost always from the same camera position. First, a partial set is built and lit, and a camera is fixed in place with motion sensors. After the animals have entered the frame and been captured on camera, the sets are completed and populated with a human cast drawn from local communities and beyond. Brandt interweaves the two images in post-production, bringing out the chiaroscuro and detail. At the end of the project, the elements of each set are recycled and the land returned to its original state. Published by Thames & Hudson.