Earth to Sky: Among Africa’s Elephants, a Species in Crisis

A Species in Crisis

Photographs and text by Michael Nichols

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11¾ x 8 3⁄8 inches 188 pages (plus 2 gatefold pages) 978-1-59711-243-7 September 2013,
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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 twenty 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’s photographs are accompanied here by the words of such celebrated figures in the field of conservation as Iain Douglas-Hamilton, J. Michael Fay, Peter Matthiessen, Cynthia Moss, and David Quammen. 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. In Earth to Sky Nichols demonstrates that the world needs elephants, and insists that we do all we can to protect their spaces and their lives. Sadly, most signs point to a tragic conclusion for these wise and emotionally complex creatures. This book is an urgent call for us to bring that process to a halt, while we still can. 


Michael Nichols (born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 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 magazine in 1996 and was named editor-at-large for photography in January 2008. From 1982 to 1995 he was a member of Magnum Photos. His previous books with Aperture include Gorilla (1989), with an essay by George Schaller, and Brutal Kinship (2005), with an essay by Jane Goodall. Product is sold out but still available at Barnes and Noble.

The New York Times Lens blog, 08/28/13

“Documenting Elephants’ Compassion, and Their Slaughter”

“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.”

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The Daily Progress, 09/29/13

“Photographer Nichols brings new book, crusade to protect elephants and lions to Paramount”

“Nichols . . . documents in words and pictures the majesty of these threatened creatures and the horrific butchery that is decimating their families.”

Click here to read more

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