The Day May Break was photographed in Zimbabwe and Kenya in late 2020. It is the first part of a global series portraying people and animals that have been impacted by environmental degradation and destruction.
The people in the photos have all been badly affected by climate change — some displaced by cyclones that destroyed their homes, others such as farmers displaced and impoverished by years-long severe droughts.
The photographs were taken at five sanctuaries / conservancies. The animals are almost all long-term rescues, victims of everything from the poaching of their parents, to habitat destruction and poisoning.
These animals can never be released back into the wild. As a result, they are habituated, and so it was safe for human strangers to be close to them, and photographed in the same frame at the same time.
The fog is the unifying visual. We increasingly find ourselves in a kind of limbo, a once-recognizable world now fading from view. Created by fog machines on location, the fog is also an echo of the suffocating smoke from the wildfires, driven by climate change, devastating so much of the planet.
However, in spite of their loss, these people and animals are the survivors. And therein lies possibility and hope. — Nick Brandt