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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 59
    Lighting 38
    Creativity 28
    Story 99

    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
    193 comments
    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.

    Gopi Mohan
    Gopi Mohan

    This is not the first time I have seen this picture but I avoid looking at it  every time. Having read the story I do not have the courage to look at those eyes longer. Even now I am doing the typing without looking at the picture. So heart wrenching. No doubt an excellent capture.

    Kevin Hegarty
    Kevin Hegarty

    Possibly one of the most awesome photos I've seen in a while. A simple comment doesn't do it justice. Great shot.

    Tobin David
    Tobin David

    An incredibly touching and heart-breaking photograph. The story behind the photograph brings tears to the eyes. Hopefully the little one is doing well in the wild. Many thanks for sharing this beautiful photo!

    Janet Thompson
    Janet Thompson

    Julia, this is a beautiful touching story. And the expression you captured on this gorgeous baby elephant says it all. What a beautiful photo!

    Carrie Kahus
    Carrie Kahus

    Julia, your work is beautiful, FULL of color and even when you choose B&W, your photos are full of life! You are gifted beyond your dreams! My very very favorite is this baby elephant!!! He loved you and will never ever forget you. I hope he was okay after you left. I am sure you have heard of Daphne Sheldrick and how she raises her babies who they rescue. She has had 50 years of practice. But this photo is GUT WRENCHING and I LOVE it! The first thing on my bucket list will be to visit her place in Kenya. 


    You have a great eye Julia, keep up your fantastic work!

    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.

    Julia Cumes
    Julia Cumes

    @Carrie Kahus Thank you for your very lovely message and for taking the time to look at my work, Carrie. Yes, I do know about Daphne Sheldrick.  I've always wanted to visit her baby elephant orphanage.  Her work is so inspiring. 

    Julia Cumes
    Julia Cumes

    @Mercedes Vizueta Hi Mercedes. I got your envelope in the mail. I want to confirm the address to send the print to and can't seem to locate your email address. Can you email me directly to confirm details? Thanks!--Julia

    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).

    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