Annette Bonnier is a documentary photographer who traveled throughout India over a 3 year period photographing the lives of domesticated and wild elephants. She has focused on a society, which revels in the joyous magnificence and spiritual presence as well as the hardships of an amazing animal. She has captured the world surrounding their lives delicately interwoven in Indian Society.
This collection of photographs is a cultural documentation of this complex and majestic animal, with its intelligence, intricate social hierarchy, and highly evolved communication skills, and is caught in a changing world between the past and the future. The images guide us through villages, temples, logging camps and circuses where elephants labor, delight and inspire worshipers and tourists to the final image of the Lord Ganesh, a spiritual culmination of a cycle between man and beast.
About the Author
From an early age growing up in Miami, I was captivated by the worlds depicted in Life, Look and National Geographic. Photos mesmerized me, people fascinated me and injustice infuriated me. I found an outlet for my passion through Documentary Photography at the University of Florida where I graduated in 1979. I continued my studies under eminent photographers like Mary Ellen Marks, David Allen Harvey and Steve McCurry.
Photography has transported me to places I never would have imagined – inside a housing project with a crack addict and her 7 children, in a propeller plane with ‘Brothers to the Rescue’ searching for dying refugees, assessing the damage to homes after Hurricane Andrew, backstage with the artistic characters at Cirque du Soleil, and meeting some of the transformed men in Sing Sing Prison.
Travelling and working with NGO’s in India and Southeast Asia transformed me in many ways. The people, their survival under such harsh conditions and their amazing perseverance is inspiring. The beauty, spirituality and colors of the Eastern world draw me back again and again. My work has been published in the New York Times, Tropic Magazine (Miami Herald), and Loft Magazine. I also have participated in various gallery shows around the country.