24229

SWIMMING ELEPHANT, PORT BLAIR, ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS, 2004 230113SN

Product Details
  • In Prints: Print
  • Subject Type: Signed
Description

An elephant swims in the ocean waters of the Andaman islands.

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Product Specifications

Swimming Elephant: Signed and Numbered

Jonathan Kingston

"Seeing an elephant — that very likely weighed more than 10,000 pounds — playfully swimming through the blue ocean water above my head was like witnessing a miracle, and to this day is one of my most treasured memories.

Shortly after moving to Udhagamandalam in southern India, I learned that elephants were brought to the Andaman archipelago for logging. Male elephants were put on some islands and females on other islands. When the males went into musth, pulled by nature’s call, they would swim to the islands with the female elephants. In India, an elephant’s keeper is known as a mahout. Mahouts and their elephants have a unique relationship that often begins at a young age and lasts for the lifetime of the mahout. Once the mahouts realized that their elephants could swim, some mahouts began swimming with their elephants to other islands for work and for play. The elephant in this image was in retirement and no longer used for heavy labour, but part of the life-long bond that elephants have with their mahouts includes a ritual of bathing together. This particular elephant would often go for a short swim during the daily bathing ritual.

This image was captured on film in 2004 after two years of planning and obtaining permission from the Ministry of Environment and Forests that seeks to protect elephants in the Andaman archipelago. The shot has been widely copied by other photographers, but none have captured the ethereal weightless feeling that shows the bond of elephant and mahout at play together in Andaman sea.

LOCATION: Port Blair, Andaman And Nicobar Islands

CAPTURE DATE: 2004

MEDIUM: Chromogenic Print

EDITION: 200

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