Elephants at Itumba, Kenya

“Elephants walk through the spirit as much as the do across the earth. They are the ambassadors of peace, the universal prayer, the Om in motion”   ~ Boyd Varty, Cathedral of the Wild

In Kenya, I had the privilege of staying at Itumba, the bush camp of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). After years of capturing images of people from the remote corners of the world, I am now exploring the endangered species of the Animal Kingdom.

Wild elephants visiting the orphans at Itumba

The opportunity to interact with the orphan elephants in Itumba Camp in Tsavo East National Park is an elephant-lover’s dream. At Itumba, you have the unique opportunity to interact with young elephants who trust humans during their transition towards a life in the wild. Wild elephants also join in, mixing with the orphans and tolerating our human presence. Itumba has had extraordinary success in rehabilitating and releasing elephants. It plays an important role in elephant conservation in Kenya. Benjamin Kyalo, the head keeper tells us the orphans communicate with the wild elephants and let them know it is safe and okay to be here with humans.

Ben leading the young orphans coming to camp for the evening feeding

While at Itumba, I became involved with the adoption program and chose Laragai for my adoptee. She is a young female rescued by the staff at a lodge in Northern Kenya. When Laragai was rescued, there were many herds in the area. The rangers waited a couple of days after finding her and observed that her condition was worsening. They concluded that she was abandoned. The rangers managed to subdue her and brought her to the lodge to await the help of the DSWT Rescue Team.

Meeting my adoptee Laragai

The DSWT Rescue Team and the new orphan arrived at the Nairobi Nursery in the late afternoon after a successful plane journey. She was soon safely relocated to a comfortable stockade next to Sities, an older orphan who was a soothing presence to the newcomer who needed all the reassurance she could get. Laragai was in a wild and emaciated state, but she took milk from a bucket during the night, and from a bottle the following morning, though only behind the security of the stockade gate. Laragai took much longer than usual to tame, despite the keepers’ best efforts.

The young ones race in to getting their mid-day bottle of milk

Once the elephants are a little older, they are ready to be transferred to one of the two relocation centers in Kenya to ease their transition back to the wild. It is like when your child graduates from nursery school to kindergarten. Itumba is one of these centers.

On our arrival at Itumba, we went immediately to the mud baths to meet the orphans and ex-orphans (that is, those orphans that no longer require milk – usually at 8 years old the elephants no longer need to take milk or return to the stockades at night for protection).

Suddenly, your ears are met with the trumpeting of a herd of elephants coming straight towards you, ravenous for their morning milk feeding.

And then there are the mud baths. It is like watching extremely large kids go crazy in a sandbox.

Kenya_2015_red-1088-104 Kenya_2015_red-1225-105Elephants taking a mud the ultimate mud bath

Our three days at Itumba were amazing. We observed the older orphans and their wild elephant companions, fed them milk, played with the babies, and were physically pushed around by the enormous animals. This is what you come here for. Being surrounded by these gentle giants for even a short time is a magical and unforgettable experience.

Kenya_2015_red-1083-103Elephants socialize at Itumba

Elephants, more than any other species of wild animal, need room. The Tsavo National Park is the only park in Kenya large enough to accommodate them. Nothing in nature stays the same. Elephant numbers are designed by nature to fluctuate in unison with the nature’s own cycles. They are highly intelligent,­­­­­­ sophisticated, long-lived animals with an emotional make-up and sense of self, family and even death that are akin to our own.

One of the world’s most pressing environmental problems is species extinction. The survival of the African Elephant as a species presents one of the greatest challenges today.

“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa” ~John Hemingway

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A wild elephant walks towards Kilimanjaro

FADA: HOUSE OF MADNESS | THE 23RD ANNUAL WATERMILL CENTER SUMMER BENEFIT & AUCTION

I’m thrilled to have two images featured in the 23rd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit.  Excited to see Robert Wilson and Kanye West’s collaborative art installation piece and all the other amazing artwork and performance art.  It’s an evening when the woods come alive with magical happenings…

TICKETS ON SALE NOW! On Saturday, July 30, 2016 The Watermill Center will once again bring together the worlds of theater, art, fashion, design, and society for The 23rd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction. Watermill’s International Summer Program participants come from over 25 countries to create installations and performances throughout our eight-and-a-half acre grounds for the event. The funds raised support The Watermill Center’s year-round Artist Residency and Education Programs, providing a unique environment for young and emerging artists to explore and develop new work.

Hamar Family in the Omo Valley - Terri Gold

Hamar Family in the Omo Valley – Terri Gold

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Silent Dune – Terri Gold

To bid on the work online, follow these links on Artsy:

Hamar Family in the Omo Valley

Silent Dune

 

The San People in Namibia

“We are at a crucial crossroads of human history. We are losing traditional cultures with their ancient ways of life and spiritual beliefs at catastrophic rates … With my photography of the First Peoples of our fragile planet, I hope to show spiritual traditions from our past in the present, and become part of the process in some small way of helping prefer life for future generations. I believe photography plays a crucial role in helping sustain and revitalize cultures on the edge.” – Chris Rainier

The San people are the first people of Africa, they are descendants of the original Homo sapiens, who occupied Southern Africa, for at least 150 000 years. The San  already have been forced to abandon their traditions. Some people are working to preserve the culture, but the last remaining areas were they could live as hunter-gatherers are slowly being converted to commercial farmland.

We met the people featured in the German movie called Ghostland about the life of the Bushmen in the 21’st century. Life in the vast Kalahari desert has changed for one of the most ancient cultures on our planet: the lifesaving and nurturing hunt has been forbidden by law by the Namibian government in 1990. Fences are now dividing the former endless open land of the dry savannah. The former nomads are now pressed into an unused life in fixed housing and are forced to live of spare gifts from the government or, if so, adventurous tourists.

They graciously welcomed us to the area in their  village called the living museum and showed us some of their traditions and the plants they used as food and medicines in the forest.

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Kenyan Stories

Everything from the humble woodlouse to specks of dust moving through a ray of sunlight. Each tells a story. ~ Fennel Hudson

With my camera, I try to bring the diversity of distant lands into our modern world, and share the stories I discover in my travels ; to create imagery that reminds us and generations to come how beautiful and diverse the world is. Our challenge now will be to keep the poetry of diversity alive…kenya_red_ambo-256 new sky Kenya_2015_red_-1903 Kenya_2015_red_-1907 Kenya_2015_red_-2120 Kenya_2015_red_-2172 kenya_red_ambo-234 kenya_red_ambo-236

In Kenya, the Maasai and Samburu warriors rite of passage used to be pretty standard: Spend three months in the forest, learn how to herd cows, kill a predator.

“Some years back, for you to become a chief, you had to kill a lion. But conservationists came in and stopped the killing,” explains Mtaine David Swakei, a Maasai leader.

Now dance is part of what defines the ancient tribes of modern Kenya, the “adumu”, or “jumping dance”.

It’s been captured in endless pictures and documentaries; and is a recognizable ritual of Maasai and Samburu life. On this day the young men performed a version of it for us. The adumu is just one in a series of rituals that make up the Eunoto, the ceremony in which the junior warriors, or morani, graduate to the ranks of manhood.

Life: A Journey Through Time at the Annenberg Space for Photography

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So happy to have my images from Niger, Ethiopia and Kenya  included in the slideshow presentation accompanying the exhibit  Life: A Journey Through Time.

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March 3, 2016   at 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los AngelesCA

LIFE: A Journey Through Time is a photographic interpretation of life on Earth from the Big Bang to the present by acclaimed National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting.

A new slideshow presentation of compelling images from photographers whose work complements the themes explored in LIFE: A Journey Through Time.
The photographers in the exhibit have greatly  inspired and influenced my own photography and I am incredibly honored to be a part of this show.

Center for Photographic Art – International Juried Exhibition

Suri Family in the Omo Valley from my Omo Valley, Ethiopia series has been featured in the Center for Photographic Art International Juried Exhibition.

What a beautiful show!

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Magical Communion -Professional Photographer Magazine Feature!

Magical Communion -Professional Photographer Magazine Feature!

Excited to be the featured photographer in the February 2016 edition of Professional Photographer Magazine (a 6 page spread!)

MAGICAL COMMUNION   One friend told her she was crazy; another said she was insane. Others were even less kind. “I didn’t really blame them for telling me I was nutty to travel to Niger in West Africa in 2013,” says Manhattan- based Terri Gold. “After all, Ebola had recently broken out and the U.S. State Department was warning against traveling to much of the country.” The Peace Corps and other NGOs had already pulled out of Niger due to threats from extremist groups such as Boko Haram. But Gold was unfazed. The globetrotting photographer had already traveled to Rajasthan, India; the Omo Valley, Ethiopia; Lhasa, Tibet; Kham, China, and a slew of other hard-to-reach, often dangerous places to document what she calls “cross-cultural moments in time” and “the unguarded moment.” Ever since she’d seen photographer Carol Beckwith’s 1983 book, “Nomads of the Niger,” she’d wanted to visit the landlocked country, hoping to photograph the Wodaabe nomads as they celebrate their annual weeklong courtship ritual, the Guerewol Festival. “I’m pretty stubborn once I’ve set my mind on doing something,” explains Gold. “Besides, this was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip.”

Screenshot 2016-01-29 15.01.36GREATER RISK, GREATER REWARD   That said, an email from the trip’s Africabased organizer did give her pause. “She was writing to reassure us,” remembers Gold, who planned to travel to Niger with two other photographers. “She told us, ‘Don’t worry. We will have 20 armed guards with .50 caliber machine guns to accompany us, and it would take a multi-vehicle convoy to attack us.’” Gold pauses and adds, “We talked about calling off the trip but this was too good an adventure to cancel.” Her persistence and courage paid off. The remarkable images she captured during her three-week adventure have earned her numerous national and international awards and have been reprinted in online media, including the Huffington Post and the BBC. But more important to Gold is that they’re the latest contributions to her lifework, a yet-to-bepublished series of ritual and celebration photographs she’s made all around the world, dubbed “Still Points in a Turning World.” The collection’s T.S. Eliott-inspired title refers to rituals and moments that tie all people together, she says. Gold began her photography career shooting weddings and was intrigued by how vulnerable people acted during what she calls “grace moments.” “I loved capturing people’s emotions and how they were feeling during these special, unguarded moments,” she says. “I am not showcasing otherness, but rather providing a window on our common humanity.” Gold has exibited her work in Spain, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Colorado, Vermont and at the Annenberg Space for Photography. She’s preparing for more exhibitions this year. Recent awards include the International Photography Awards, Prix de la Photographie Paris, Humanity Photo Awards, and the Black and White Spider Awards.

Screenshot 2016-01-29 15.01.58UNDER THE SPELL    Since childhood, Gold has been fascinated by explorers such as Mary Kingsley, Isabella Bird, and Alexandra David-Neel, intrepid women who traveled to foreign lands to report on cultures and traditions. When Gold herself began traveling, first to Asia in the late 1980s, she noticed a common humanity among various cultures. “While we may have our bar mitzvah, a foreign tribe may have a bull jumping ceremony,” Gold says. “These rituals look different, but the values are the same. We laugh and cry at the same things. I wanted to try to capture that on film.” She began visiting parts of the world that fired her Screenshot 2016-01-29 15.02.11imagination and brought along her camera gear. “While friends were going to Paris or London, I was more interested in setting off for those curious corners of the world, such as Timbuktu or Rajasthan—places that seemed to me to be steeped in mystery and intrigue.” She admits these self-assigned trips could be expensive, but because she has no children to support, “I am free to follow my own passion.” That passion included a desire to highlight the mysterious side—what she terms “the magic realism”—of the places she visited. She’s long used infrared film and knew it could give her that special quality she sought. “I like the way infrared pierces the veil; it has an invisible iridescent quality, a shimmer to it. It illuminates another dimension,” says Gold. “I thought it was the perfect film for these parts of the world where there is so much mystery.” Using infrared harkened back to her days as a lith printer, a process she learned at Manhattan’s International Center of Photography in the 1990s. “With lith printing no two prints were the same,” says Gold. “I liked the sense of discovery it offered. It was always a dance in the darkroom.” Infrared film offers her a similar surprise element. “Infrared gives you the mysterious right away. It also sees things you don’t see,” says Gold. “You don’t know exactly where the colors are going to fall. For example, you do know the green leaves are going to turn slightly white but it all depends on how the sun is hitting the leaves. It’s the same with water. It’s impossible to pre-visualize with infrared. “Many of my early photography mentors talked about the necessity of pre-visualizing your work, but that did not work for me. I want to go on a journey with my photographs and want to be surprised. I love the unexpected.”

Screenshot 2016-01-29 15.02.25Inspired by a friend’s photograph that had been painted, Gold began painting on her own prints, often adding encaustic wax. She sometimes uses extensive post-processing and is fond of split toning. “Taking pictures is just the beginning for me,” says Gold. In the pre-digital days Gold had to carry four to five cameras—everything from several 35mm cameras loaded with regular and infrared film to a Mamiya and a Hasselblad and film changing bags. “I would freak out at airports and beg the customs people not to open my infrared film canisters. Now it’s a lot easier, and I travel with converted infrared digital cameras.” She usually carries a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. “Digital has freed me up so much,” says Gold. “I have more freedom in aperture, exposure, and shutter speed. And now for the first time with infrared I can get some idea of what I am shooting.” Gold captures almost all her subjects in infrared but admits, “It doesn’t always work. I know it has its limitations, but I always give it a try. I always also have a color camera along with me.” If making memorable photography is about capturing a moment, then Terri Gold’s trip to Niger is a life lesson in the importance of making those moments happen. As she readily admits, it would have been very easy for her to cancel her trip because of all the perceived dangers. “In fact, a week or so after we left Niger, al-Qaeda rebels spilled over into the country from Libya,” she says. “If we had cancelled or delayed our trip, we never would have gotten back there.” But she didn’t cancel. She braved 110-plus degree Fahrenheit heat to document a ceremony in one of the world’s most remote deserts and returned with powerful images. For all the travel warnings, her trip went smoothly. “Any worries about violence and unrest disappeared during our time amongst the welcoming Wodaabe, especially when we camped under a tapestry of the Milky Way accompanied by the chanting of the nomads and the lullabies of their animal herds.” While she hesitates to describe herself as brave, she says she now understands completely the Wodaabe adage she learned on her trip: Who cannot bear the smoke will never get to the fire. • terrigoldworldimagery.com

Robert Kiener is a writer based in Vermont.

 

Black and White Spider Awards 2015 Winner

The 10th Annual Black and White Spider Awards has selected two of my images as winners in the 2015 juried selection!

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Preparing for the Gerewol Festival

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Tuareg Nomad Teatime

10TH ANNUAL BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS HONORS PHOTOGRAPHER TERRI GOLD FROM THE UNITED STATES

LOS ANGELES December 15, 2015 – Professional photographer Terri Gold of The United States was presented with the 10th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Honorable Mention in the category of Portrait at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow webcast Saturday, November 21, 2015.

The live online gala was attended by over 10,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography.

10th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Bonhams, Random House, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Stockholm City Museum, Annenberg Foundation, Leo Burnett, FTM Art Advisory and Fratelli Alinari who honored Spider Fellows with 505 coveted title awards in 31 categories.

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.

View the entire gallery of images at thespiderawards.com

 

 

Creative Mapping Feature: Images from Around the Globe

Thrilled to have my work presented on Creative Mapping- the creative collective blog.

creative mapping Infrared Photographer Terri Gold

Award-winning, fine art photographer and creative nomad Terri Gold captures her beautiful, other worldly photographs of tribal and nomadic cultures and their rites using invisible light. This light which cannot be seen exists on the invisible part of the spectrum and is captured by infrared sensitive film to reveal a enchanting and poetic under-layer. At home in unfamiliar lands, the wanderlust fueled photographer lives a surreal existence where time and centuries coexist. As an outsider, Gold’s ability to tap into foreign worlds with such an intimacy whilst also emphasising the mystery encapsulated within their rituals and ceremonies is an impressive balance. And her talents are held in great esteem within the photography and creative worlds.

Traveling across oceans, deserts and deep into the bush with up to three cameras in tow along with an ever growing passion and wanderlust, Gold is seeking to shine light on the fragility of tribal cultures seemingly untouched by time; using a light that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

CM: Your work has been published in numerous digital and print outlets, what first garnered notice of your work?
I think the global response to my work speaks to the universal connection that all humans share. The loss of diverse cultures and species is becoming inextricably connected with the development of the modern world. The cultural diversity of our planet is where our greatest creativity lies. Though we may not see our own customs and traditions in these images, it is my hope that we recognize our common humanity. Our challenge now is to keep the poetry of diversity alive…

CONTINUE READING…

 

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