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JOACHIM SCHMEISSER

THE LAST OF THEIR KIND 

PHOTOGRAPHS OF the last giants of Africa at close range. exceptionally intimate portraits of species threatened with extinction.

HALL OF GIANTS

These unique and partly irretrievable close-ups have been created in the last 12 years. All of them from very close proximity without remote or telelenses. All of them were breathtaking encounters that I will never forget. Tim and Primo – two of the last big tuskers at Amboseli I photographed for the last time in 2019. Both unfortunately passed away during the last months due to natural causes.

THE ORPHAN ELEPHANTS

My work with the orphan elephants of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of my heart projects. My book „Elephants in Heaven“ is dedicated to this project and tells their story. The Trust gives them a second chance at a life as a free and wild animal. But few elephants have the luck to find this “heaven” on earth—around 35,000 of their relatives are brutally killed every year for their ivory. While this is inconceivable, it is unfortunately reality. 

Multi Layer Platinum Prints

I value this technique because of the result’s beauty, permanence, and rarity and have dedicated a special series to this process. The Platinum-Palladium process is the most durable and aesthetically rewarding of all black and white photographic printing techniques. Produced by coating specially manufactured paper with a light-sensitive emulsion containing Platinum and Palladium salts, these prints exhibit an expanded tonal range, three-dimensionality, and a uniquely luminous quality.

large Multiple part Platinum project

I love platinum palladium prints. Anyone who has ever stood in front of multi-layer platinum prints will understand me immediately. They transform reality into dreams. The only „disadvantage“ is the restriction imposed by paper size and technique. And that’s the problem – because, as much as I love platinum prints, I also love large formats. I decided to reactivate an approach that had been experimented with 60 years ago, but never taken further – combining several multi-layer platinum palladium prints into an inordinately large one.

hand painted photographs

I started this style of work already more than 30 years ago and now is the right time to continue. They enhances my work by an additional dimension that allows me to convey a much deeper perception of my view of the world, its beauty, but also its vulnerability.