This artwork combines two photographs - one taken in The Borana Conservancy, Kenya from above Pride Rock and the other taken 4000 km south at Kevin Richardson’s famous lion sanctuary where we created a massive replica of Pride Rock. It was a joint idea between my team and Kevin’s and fund raising for Kevin’s crusade was integral to the project. No better year to do this than in 2019 - the year Disney rereleased Lion King. We hope to raise a meaningful amount from this image for Kevin’s continual task of building awareness of the plight of the lion. The lion has no better friend in Africa.
Pride Rock is the spiritual home of the movie and I wanted to work around this physical location in much the same way as Disney. The backdrop, 1,000 feet below, is quintessential East Africa, but the problem is that lion rarely venture onto the rock. That part of the job had to be done in South Africa. The angles and the light had to blend perfectly in order for the composite to work and we spent many hours planning at both locations. A big thank you to Borana Lodge.
The biggest challenge was not the light - both images were taken with the camera pointing in the same direction about 45 minutes after sunrise. We knew if we gave it a few days we would get similar clear sunrises in both locations. A tougher issue was to have the same trajectory in both locations and we ended up hiring a cherry picker in South Africa to ensure my angles on to the rock were identical at both locations.
The final piece of the jigsaw was the position and posture of the lion. Only Kevin could do this and he is a true genius.
This is one of the most important and challenging projects of my career - it is creative and I hope we can break a few fundraising records. It really went far better than any of us hoped.