This project aims to raise awareness about the increasingly alarming amount of elephants being killed annually by poaching in Africa. The brief was an adaption of the "Welcome to my World" brief of John Short and Tom Kelly in DIT, as it began following the life of an elephant and progressed to documenting the process of illegal ivory poaching.
Initially the project was to take the form of a series of images showing the life cycle of a poached elephant. From its development of twenty-two months in the womb to it being killed and its tusks smuggled to the Philippines to be carved into a religious statue. The irony of creating something beautiful from something that is already so magnificent was an interesting aspect to investigate visually. This idea gradually developed into creating a linear timeline of the events that lead up to the production of ivory, showing the brutal and callous reality of how the material for the beautiful ornaments and jewelry are obtained. The incorporation of an elephants tusk into this concept of a long timeline of events was appropriate in narrating the story visually. The final image is intended to be used as a 96-sheet billboard as an awareness advertisement against the trade.
The image was created by photographing an elephant tusk in four sections and editing the image to create a unique shape that would fit the billboard as well as display as much of the image as possible. Drawings were then done in pencil before being placed and once the final layout was confirmed they were drawn in ink. After this they were edited over the image of the tusk to replicate a scrimshaw etching, where images are carved on bone, horn or tusk and blackened by using ash or ink. A CMYK mix of C40 M30 Y30 K100 was used for the black in the background to get a rich, deep colour. The final image has the potential to be used in awareness campaigns in brochures, fold-out booklets and even digital media.