Kogatende, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. July, 2017

Composed of nearly two million Wildebeest, the Great Migration roams across vast swaths of savanna in East Africa. The herds are always on the move and they cross dozens of streams and rivers throughout the year. Yet only once per year, the migration crosses the largest river on their perpetual journey, the mighty Mara river in Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya – a place the Masai people call Kogatende. This is one of the great wildlife spectacles on planet Earth, made famous by countless nature documentaries – especially those featuring the gore of the crocodiles snatching unsuspecting wildebeests and dragging them into the depths.

Arriving on the banks of the Mara river for the first time and watching thousands upon thousands of wildebeest cross was a near-spiritual experience. The vigorous mix of instinct and chance on such a grand scale hung so persistently in my mind’s eye, but not in the way I had expected. Here was arguably the most iconic phenomena on the continent of Africa, one I had watched countless times in documentaries, yet now I was feeling something so different, so much more intense – something so much more varied. I pondered ways to bring these emotions to my gallery and museum experiences – the techniques that would ultimately translate to a collector’s walls.
As the days passed I approached the ever-evolving subject with different methods. Firing away with one technique and then rapidly changing to another as the scene evolved. It was emotional and exhilarating. Eventually, my visits to Kogatende rendered four images that begin to express the raw emotion on view at that special time of year. Please explore the breadth of experience through the following four exposures: The visceral freeze-frame I call The Brink, the motley portrait I call The Rovers, the ethereal plunge I call Wildeghost, and the consuming landscape I call The Crossing.

The Mara is a right of passage for the migrating herds, so it only seems fitting that taking on the challenge of capturing its complexity became my own right of passage. While I always strive to make leaps in my artistic journey, sometimes I come up short. Which is exactly why I will always remember how the ground left my feet, even for just a moment, while creating this new work that pushed me to the brink of my own creative and technical frontier.

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