• PROOF:
  • December 12, 2013

Brent Stirton on Photography as Obsession

“It’s the common human elements that we all instantly identify with, that makes a great photo what it is.” –Brent Stirton

To keep the ivory from the black market, a plainclothes ranger hacks the tusks off a bull elephant killed illegally in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. In the first half of this year six park rangers died protecting Kenya’s elephants; meanwhile, rangers killed 23 poachers.
To keep the ivory from the black market, a plainclothes ranger hacks the tusks off a bull elephant killed illegally in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. In the first half of this year six park rangers died protecting Kenya’s elephants; meanwhile, rangers killed 23 poachers.

For Brent Stirton, photography is a responsibility, a joy, a curse, a refuge, but above all, it is an obsession. Stirton photographs to show that everything that happens in the world is interconnected. He began his career as a reporter covering factional violence in his home country, South Africa. But when he couldn’t find a photographer willing to cover the atrocities with him, Stirton picked up a camera. Stirton is a staff photographer for Reportage by Getty Images and has worked for National Geographic, the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Wildlife Fund, the Nike Foundation, and the World Economic Forum.  He has received numerous awards from World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International and American Photo. —Mika Chance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

View more of Brent Stirton’s work on his website.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: Brent Stirton
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Interviewer: Barbara Paulsen, NGM
Editors: Mika Chance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Adam Jabari Jefferson, NGM

There are 11 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. dar
    October 29, 2014

    Putting a picture of a lion being killed in Canned Hunting is absolutely disgusting

  2. Stephen
    January 26, 2014

    “The idea in my head that I might not be able to deliver… thats a driving force…”

    I love that quote, and love/hate the feeling. This is a great video portrait, man.

  3. justin
    December 22, 2013

    shame on u this elephants life is 100 times more importent then urs they dont hurt anybody why do that to amazing and sensible human beings i am amazed are u showing that as a throphy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Bill Harding
    December 16, 2013

    I have followed your career for many years, Brent, & am very proud of your dedication & achievements. Equally impressive is your ever present humility & the surprising admission that you still have much to learn. Your work is an inspiration to us all. bill

  5. James Kemoh
    December 15, 2013

    The buyers are the criminals and the sellers are scums of the earth. Brent, please use your camera to expose them, although some of the photos send chill through my spine.

  6. Sadie
    December 15, 2013

    No morals. Sickening. Please educate these people. E D U C A T E………

  7. GerdLutz Schott
    December 13, 2013

    wonderfull Events more than great
    greetings
    by G,Schott (www.astro-schott.de)

  8. Lauren Gomes
    December 13, 2013

    It’s amazing how photography can be a portal to the parts of the world we’re so often sheltered from seeing.

  9. w v foster
    December 13, 2013

    if it was possible to trace and punish the buyers of these tusks then there would be no incentive to hunt and kill these magnificent beasts

  10. Misty
    December 13, 2013

    A powerful photo. I love elephants (all animals) and cringed when viewing this. Thanks for doing what you do.

  11. Ashfaq
    December 13, 2013

    This is killing just for a small benefit. Completely ruthless act by human and destruction of nature.

Add Your Comments

All fields required.