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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 70
    Lighting 44
    Creativity 34
    Story 115

    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
    231 comments
    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.

    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.

    Mercedes Vizueta
    Mercedes Vizueta

    @Gopi Mohan  I have a metallic print of the photo.  I look at him all the time.  To me he also shows courage.  He's an inspiration and I love connecting with him.

    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!

    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. 

    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
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