David Chancellor. A herd of elephants moves through forests of mopane and apple leaf at sunset, northern Botswana.
"I can still smell the dust, taste the dry earth in my mouth, and hear the movement of elephants through the bush. My skin is dry, the sun rests heavily on it as if God has tailored a suit and draped it over those who choose to stand under its rays. Elephants move through this landscape as if appearing on stage. The audience, made up of acacia and mopane trees, waits patiently for them to burst forth from behind curtains of dust, made solid by the same rays that I now stand dressed in.
Like small explosions, each footstep releases new sheets of fabric into the air, wrapping this landscape as if Christo himself has stepped forward from the bowels of the earth. The audience parts; in this it has no choice, allowing the herd to move forward as a body of one. Behind them the world moves in slow motion as the landscape recovers its composure; the audience dusts itself down, looks to each other, and then breaks into uniform applause. God turns down the lights and an entirely different performance begins as night falls and a new cast assembles on stage.
Sunset, Okavango delta panhandle, Botswana - from David Chancellor's recent National Geographic story ‘Elephant Politics’
David Chancellor is a multi award-winning documentary photographer. His work brings him across the world, from the sombre mountains of Scotland, to the tribal lands of Kenya and, more recently, the arid plains of Saudi Arabia. A regular contributor to National Geographic, he has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions, exhibited in major galleries and museums, and published worldwide. His work continues to examine mankind’s complex relationship with the natural world."
Follow David on Instagram @chancellordavid.