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    I met this baby elephant while documenting a baby elephant rehabilitation/release program in Assam, India. He had lost his mother in a flood. I spent a lot of time with him and became quite attached. When I finally had to leave, I turned around one more time to look at the building that housed him and saw he had got up on his hind legs and was looking out the window at me. His expression was so strikingly human in that moment and I saw in his eyes something universal and profoundly expressive.
    WHAT MAKES THIS PHOTO GREAT?
    Composition 52
    Lighting 30
    Creativity 22
    Story 88

    Julia, Breathtaking and poignant photograph. Your backstory enriches the information and is heart rending - if that is the right word. Thank you, Robin

    Robin Schwartz
    Fine Art/Editorial Photographer
    180 comments
    Shannon Curtis
    Shannon Curtis

    WOW!  Story plus photo equals emotional.  Absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing, Shannon 

    Yves Meelbergs
    Yves Meelbergs

    Remarkable story, it tells us that we should consider also animals with great respect and humility. Thank you Julia for this magic moment. Regards. 

    Poornima C.
    Poornima C.

    This shot captured my attention amidst hundreds of snapshots and the story behind it just confirmed why. Strikingly human indeed.

    Gopi Mohan
    Gopi Mohan

    I hate to watch pictures/videos of animal suffering, so normally I avoid them. I couldn't help seeing this. My heart goes out to the creature.

    Ganesh Mandavkar
    Ganesh Mandavkar

    Wow I  think It's a really great movement for you & very cute shot, I love the baby Elephant so cute...Love it.

    Cate Kager
    Cate Kager

    I can feel him by looking at this photo. Incredible. 

    stan schnier
    stan schnier

    PERFECT!  Cannot stop looking at this stunning image.  You mentioned that you were documenting at a release program, so am curious if you have published other photos.

    Anne Foley
    Anne Foley

    Wonderful!!! I just want to give him a BIG OL HUG!!!!

    Gail Murchison
    Gail Murchison

    You captured the beauty of this little baby.  How precious.  Thank you.

    LeAnne Gamero
    LeAnne Gamero

    He is so beautiful.It must have been next to impossible to leave him after seeing those eyes.I am glad that he is with a herd and back in the wild. I hope he has a long happy life and is safe from poachers. Maybe someday you will meet up with him again in a follow up story. Thank you so much for sharing this photo and story.

    Sylvia F.
    Sylvia F.

    What a beautiful creature - thank you for caring and sharing!

    Richard Moore
    Richard Moore

    Beautiful, hard to believe the feeling these animals have. Thanks for sharing your great photo.

    helen normandeau
    helen normandeau

    the word IS heart-rending. What a human look of loneliness in the beautiful baby. Even at that age feelings of the human and the animal co-exist, and your photo is proof of that. Congratulations Julia.

    Partha Ray
    Partha Ray

    wonderful shot according to the story line. grate composition, light



    cheryal hussain
    cheryal hussain

    Very touching and straight to the heart. The look in that little guy's eyes says it all. Elephants have long memories, and he will have memories of you.

    Mercedes Vizueta
    Mercedes Vizueta

    I love this elephant with all my heart.  I feel responsible for him.  May he have a blessed life.  Please how can I get a print of this image.  Can I buy a print?

    Anna Centura
    Anna Centura

    Compliment! Beautiful shot and wonderful calf. I really hope a best future for him/her and all the endangered animals too.

    Ivan Garay
    Ivan Garay

    The story goes along with the picture, the elephant expression is touching.

    Erin O.
    Erin O.

    Phenomenal photo! I feel as if his eyes tell the whole story.

    Anthony Caruana
    Anthony Caruana

    No words needed. The elephant's expression says it all. One of the best elephant photos I have ever seen.

    Michele Arnesen
    Michele Arnesen

    You brought tears to my eyes with this extraordinary photograph and remarkable story. Thank you! Elephants are dying at the rate of 1 every 15 minutes to poaching. I dream that poachers see your photograph and truly realize what they are brutally destroying. 

    Gianfranco Fronzi
    Gianfranco Fronzi

    What your looking at isn't an elephant , it's something deep inside you .

    Something that says help us all .

    Life goes on , but what we do for it is eternal , therefore keep working , if you can , to do the right thing .

    If one life is saved , human or creature , it is a testament to our species as " Homo Sapiens ".

    Kitsa Xari
    Kitsa Xari

    How did you manage to leave? Have you any news about this baby ever since you left?

    Kat Eatough
    Kat Eatough

    What a touching story. Fantastic photograph. Thank you so much for sharing! 

    Somesh Dutt
    Somesh Dutt

    Dear Julia, Its an amazing picture. You could capture such emotions which many of the times even we humans can't emote. Truly an emotional picture. Thank you for sharing it.

    Joan Durham
    Joan Durham

    So many emotions from this sweet baby. My heart breaks for him and yet, I am hopeful. Beautiful photo.

    Juan Torres
    Juan Torres

    Very emotional photo.
    Congrats on being selected.

    I have one also in there, the dog having fun in the car.

    Maria Vanesa Acuto
    Maria Vanesa Acuto

    You have captured the deepest feeling and emotion so difficult to do with such animal species, like the elephants. With your image you reach the purest essence of feelings in humans and a great emotion of compassion is felt within. Much Blessings for your work Julia! Greetings from Squamish BC, Canada

    Nancy Kara
    Nancy Kara

    A great sensitive picture ! ! ! This little one shows us that he knew you were leaving and maybe his body posture is his way of saying goodbye..

    If only all humakind could see elephants and all living creatures like you did.. the world would be a much better place..

    Marta Pająk
    Marta Pająk

    I have wanted to volunteer to work with elephants, but I think it would break my heart to leave after some time... Great photo, thank you for sharing it.

    Julia Cumes
    Julia Cumes

    @Anna Centura Hi Anna. Thanks for your message. Just to let you know he was eventually integrated into a herd of other orphan elephants and released back into the wild.


    Julia Cumes
    Julia Cumes

    @Michele Arnesen Hi Michele. I appreciate your message and yes, if this photo could save just one elephant's life, I'd be so grateful.  I hope this photo at least helps show the vulnerability, intelligence and humanity of these beautiful animals. 

    Julia Cumes
    Julia Cumes

    @Kitsa Xari Hi Kitsa.  Yes, I do know this little elephant was eventually integrated into a herd of other orphaned elephants and they were released back into the wild in Manas National Park (in Assam, India).

    Julia Cumes
    Julia Cumes

    @Juan Torres Thanks for your comment, Juan and congrats on your photo, Juan!  Love it! Really captures such a sense of joy.

    Photo Details
    Date Uploaded: Nov 30, 2013
    Location: Kāziranga, Assam, India
    Copyright: © Julia Cumes
    Categories: Animals, Black and White, Nature
    Assignments: The Animals We Love, Nature in Black and White, Love Snap, The Moment