Creative studio Saddington Baynes has teamed up with photographer Ian Aitken for Fauna & Flora International (FFI), one of the worlds leading conservationists of threatened species and ecosystems, to create a series of portraits to raise funds for the preservation of the near extinct Northern White Rhinos.
The four stills, which were shot by Aitken at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, will be sold on 31 October at FFI’s ‘Can We Save our Seas?
’ debate at their annual general meeting (AGM), in order to raise funds for other global conservation projects, including that of the Northern White Rhino (NWR). Proceeds from sales of the prints will go directly to building a brand new security block at the NWR enclosure to enable the continued and improved security of the Rhinos.
The NWR is critically endangered, and the last four breeding rhinos photographed by Aitken were rescued from Dvur Kralove Zoo and taken to Kenya. The rhinos (Fatu, Suni, Sudan, Najin) weren’t the initial focus for Aitken when he stayed at the park, as he explains: “Initially, I had been commissioned by Ol Pejeta to shoot the park and surrounding areas, including all of the wild-life. Towards the end of my trip I managed to organise a “portrait session” with the rhinos and after spending time with the wonderful creatures, I developed the idea further and approached FFI with it. This led us to create the four stills for sale.”
Every part of this project has been created bespoke for the sale. The frames are handmade using English brown oak and inlaid with African Blackwood, the images themselves were created using the very laborious Platinum printing process. It has been on the verge of dying out and has only been kept alive by a few dedicated enthusiasts.
“I wanted an intimate and yet reportage feeling to the shots, as if I had caught them in a fleeting moment of sadness” said Aitken. “Having worked with Saddington Baynes before, assisting them on campaigns with Duncan Sim for the likes of Chevrolet, I know that they have a fine eye for grading and the ability to create any mood in any style of image. You can liken their work to working with some of the best darkroom printers; they can really bring an image to life using their technical skill and creative back catalogue. I wanted to work with the best, so naturally Saddington Baynes came to mind and thankfully they liked the project, the cause and helped me on this exciting journey.”
Gordon McBryde, digital artist at Saddington Baynes said, “It was very important that we assessed what story the images were trying to convey. As such, we drew upon the theme of isolation ensuring each rhino was alone in a large open space to reflect the severity of their situation: exposed, alone, and on the brink of extinction. The monochrome grade really accentuates the somber message being conveyed, and the natural textures of the Rhinos themselves hold the eye for longer.
“We are humbled to have taken part in raising money and awareness for these animals, and we hope that a difference is made as a result of all our combined efforts."