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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 76
    Lighting 46
    Creativity 36
    Story 129

    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
    240 comments
    Robert Barber
    Robert Barber

    Such a gorgeous photograph of a truly beautiful animal!

    Sanjay Verma
    Sanjay Verma

    A soul stirring moment captured,,, the baby elephant exhibits a profound mix of emotions with tons of sadness and grief .  For the second time the baby has to undergo the pains of separation.The process of rehabilitation from the agony of separation is often very sluggish as time is the only distraction to overcome this grief.

    Dixhita Panchal
    Dixhita Panchal

    Beautiful picture, i love baby elephants, it heart touching and i get emotional happy feeling the moment i saw the photo.. (Y)

    Michael Stumpf
    Michael Stumpf

    Beautiful photo indeed. On the topic of the ele, they can become very emotionally attached, if they are with someone for an extended period of time and we have to be quite careful with that. They have been known to die of a broken heart if someone leaves them. Daphne Sheldrick experienced this once. 

    BRENDA SHEA
    BRENDA SHEA

    BREATH TAKING! SOUNDS LIKE YOU REALLY BONDED WITH THIS ANIMAL...I THINK I WOULD HAVE CRIED WHEN WALKING AWAY! BEAUTIFUL SHOT...YOU REALLY CAPTURED THE HEART AND SOUL OF THIS MAGNIFICENT CREATURE.

    Kaya Scodeggio
    Kaya Scodeggio

    I really like this photo as it captured this elephant's feeling of sadness. 

    Judy Buchanan
    Judy Buchanan

    It must have been hard to walk away, his face is full of love & gratitude.

    Myrna Lieberman
    Myrna Lieberman

    It is full of emotion. When you see pictures like this, who can doubt that animals have feelings 

    Kenneth Ferenchak
    Kenneth Ferenchak

    My opinion is now more reinforced - animals do freely and openly share their emotions.  Julia caught one of those powerful moments!

    Beda Musau Mulwa Muia
    Beda Musau Mulwa Muia

    The Orphan Elephant is asking you as the mother he knows Why are you leaving him alone ?  You are the one who cared for him and now you are going who will take Care of him  and you are the only Mother He knows ?

    Have you gone back to check how is doing if you LOVE him ?  THINK TWICE  and be BLESSED .

    Laurie H.
    Laurie H.

    What a sweet story! The baby elephant is so cute with the expression of his eye. His trunk hanging out the window and his feet on the ledge are perfect.

    June Preugschat
    June Preugschat

    Another great photo Julia and moving. I would have been in tears walking away and turning around to see this face. 

    sripati sai
    sripati sai

    and they say they have long memories !

    Wen Q.
    Wen Q.

    Powerful image.  I can't hold my tears when I read the story. Do you know what happened to him now? Thanks for sharing with us. 

    --- Wen

    Marion Mahn
    Marion Mahn

    just looking at the expression of fear and loss in the baby's eyes is very daunting

    Brandy H.
    Brandy H.

    Incredibly touching story and photograph.

    Matthew Palmer
    Matthew Palmer

    Simply love the emotional connection to this image.

    dipak m.
    dipak m.

    When you look at this photo for several times, you feel the expression of the Orphaned Elephant. its like the elephant was saying something. its a sad, awful, amazing. I love this photo 

    Juan C Torres
    Juan C Torres

    I saw this photo today in the magazine. Congrats.

    Ruvaid Dar
    Ruvaid Dar

    The details are amazing in this pic 

    Howard Kipfer
    Howard Kipfer

    Sad, and sweet photo of a fragile baby. Breaks my heart.

    Hanno Pangsepp
    Hanno Pangsepp

    When my dog died, having shared his time with us more than 17 years, I went to pet's sanctuary, only to have a look. I found a dog, with whom I played and walked and shared some time. When I left, he stayed there, and looked at me with just the similar sad eyes, having a question: "Why?" When I returned in two days, he sat at the very same place, I think he hasn't moved at all. Now he is a member of our family.

    Hanno Pangsepp
    Hanno Pangsepp

    Come back to see this photo again and again. Words are not needed here.

    Gaye Bentham
    Gaye Bentham

    Very touching story ... it brought tears to my eyes. A very emotional photo.

    Joanna Wright
    Joanna Wright

    This young elephant's eyes tell too many stories of loss for such a young creature. The mixture of sadness, resignation and something that cannot be named is both eloquent and heartbreaking. Few photos will ever come near to capturing such depth of feeling. This is more than a photograph; it's a treasure. Thank you for sharing him with us.

    Julia Cumes
    Julia Cumes

    @Joanna Wright Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and kind comment, Joanna. I agree that this little elephant's expression shows sadness beyond his years. It has haunted me for years and I'm glad it touched you too.

    Sheebu Pk
    Sheebu Pk

    i am amazed with you composition skills. most of your photos are more than just a frame, it really touch the heart. 

    Robin Schwartz
    Robin Schwartz

    Hi Julia, 

    I am not so swift on finding comments and I wondered if I might email with you about your experiences. My email is on my website www.RobinSchwartz.net. Thank you, Robin

    David Worswick
    David Worswick

    Awww, Julia you will have to go back to see him in a few years, remember he will never forget you.

    cassie young
    cassie young

    So sweet , i love this photo the expression is amazing, i wish i could hug him. 

    Marsha McGaughy
    Marsha McGaughy

    The emotion you captured I this photo is amazing Julia. He looks so sad. Truly a moving photo.

    Vimal Kishore
    Vimal Kishore

    Baby elephant's expression is amazing like us..and also capture of the moment is also incredible..

    Laura Lynne Daniels
    Laura Lynne Daniels

    Julia this photo is amazing!  I photograph elephants all the time, they are so expressive.    Just look at his eyes... it makes me want to reach in and hug him!

    D  Naruka
    D Naruka

    This really is stunning in so many ways. Such an emotional picture. Thanks for sharing.

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