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Hardcover, 11.75 x 8.5 in. / 188 pgs / 118 color / 27 duotone.

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ISBN 9781597112437 TRADE
List Price: $49.95 CDN $60.00

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“You don’t see a whole elephant in the forest. What you do see is just a glimpse of hide or tusk or trunk through the trees. And if you want to get this glimpse without disturbing him you must do your glimpsing from down the wind.” -Carl Akeley, excerpted from Earth to Sky



Michael Nichols: Earth to Sky--Among Africa's Elephants, A Species in Crisis

Text by Michael Nichols.

Michael Nichols: Earth to Sky--Among Africa's Elephants, A Species in CrisisElephants are among the earth’s most sentient beings. They remember, they experience grief and joy, fear and love. Indeed, as our knowledge of these extraordinary creatures increases, the more they transcend all preconceptions of animal behavior. Michael “Nick” Nichols, longtime photographer for National Geographic as well as the magazine’s editor-at-large for photography, has been working with African elephants for more than 20 years. In Earth to Sky, he tells their story through poignant images that bring us directly into their habitats--lush forests and open savannas, or stark landscapes ravaged by human intervention--to observe the animals’ daily engagements and activities. Nichols’ photographs are accompanied by the words of such celebrated figures in the field of conservation as Iain Douglas-Hamilton, J. Michael Fay, Peter Matthiessen, Cynthia Moss, David Quammen and many others. In addition, Nichols engages us in his photographic journey with personal and informative introductions to each of the book’s four chapters--exploring life in the wild, the ivory trade, family interactions and programs for orphaned elephants. The survival of elephants is under dire threat from territorial conflicts between man and nature, and most immediately from the market for ivory. More than 25,000 elephants are slaughtered each year, and their ivory is sold at astronomically high prices to countries such as China, Japan, the Philippines and Singapore. Sadly, all signs point to a tragic conclusion for these wise, complex creatures, should humans continue to exploit them. Earth to Sky is an urgent call for us to bring that process to a halt, while we still can.
Michael Nichols (born 1952) is an award-winning photographer whose work has taken him to the most remote corners of the world. He became a staff photographer for National Geographic in 1996 and was named editor-at-large in January 2008. From 1982 to 1995 he was a member of Magnum Photos. His previous books with Aperture include Gorilla (1989) and Brutal Kinship (2005).

Featured image is reproduced from Michael Nichols: Earth to Sky--Among Africa's Elephants, A Species in Crisis.


American Photo

Jack Crager

For more than 20 years, National Geographic lensman Michael "Nick" Nichols has documented life in the wilds of Africa, traversing the continent with his longtime collaborator, biologist J.Michael Fay. [...] Nichols captures scenes ranging from warm interactions between herds to deathly confrontations netween animals and poachers to the heroic efforts of humans who foster orphan elephants. It's a heart-tugging collection, as visually dramatic as it is disturbing. Back-of-book charts on poaching stats and how-to-help listings round out the message.

The New York Times - Lens

“It is a stunningly beautiful book, whose images, many of them taken while on assignment for National Geographic magazine, reflect experiences that had a profound effect on Mr. Nichols.”

The Guardian

Eric Hilaire

Award-winning photographer Michael Nichols' book tells the story of elephants through pictures taken over 20 years in Africa - their fear, agony, helplessness and joy.

Michael Nichols: Earth to Sky--Among Africa's Elephants, A Species in Crisis


In 2006, we published Design like You Give a Damn under our Metropolis Books imprint--the first book on our list on sustainable architecture. It was the right book at the right time, and it sold to thousands of people who may never have stepped into a museum or art bookstore. I predict the same thing will happen for Michael Nichols' photographs of African elephants. It's the right book, by the right photographer, published at the right time by the right publisher (Aperture). Michael Nichols is the world's leading wildlife photographer. He's to National Geographic what Annie Leibowitz is to Vanity Fair: he has shot 27 stories for the magazine and has been on staff for over 15 years. He's well known for photographing all kinds of wildlife, but African elephants are his greatest passion. This book is a culmination of a lifelong project, and can be seen as a pictorial companion to Daphne Sheldrick's bestselling book Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story, as the story of Sheldrick's program for orphaned elephants first appeared in National Geographic along with Nichols' photographs. An entire chapter in Earth to Sky is devoted to her story.
This is a beautiful picture book that captures the complexity, emotions and intelligence of elephants, but it's also a book with a strong message. As many as 25,000 elephants are slaughtered every year because of the illegal ivory trade. These images are an urgent call to action to end poaching and for conserving Kenya's wildlife. The book also includes a resource guide to encourage change and education on how to protect their habitat and lives.
--Jane Brown