Kristin & Som-o
I have to admit that a lot of my dreams come true. (and it is just fantastic!)
During my stay at the Koh-Chang island in Thailand (Koh-Chang, literally means Elephant Island, named for the elephant shape of its headland, although elephants are not indigenous to the island) I had a desire to have private photo session with an elephant and a model. Luckily for me, Kristin (the model) had the same exact desire too. Finding Elephant camp in thailand is not so difficult. Hard part is to select one where the owners take care about the elephants and treat them well. I would rather see all those wonderful creatures out in the nature then in camp.
After visiting few of them we decided to arrange a private session in the morning by the sunrise prior to any tourists. We had one elephant wrangler and interpreter with us.
The idea was to make some intimate portraits, sort of having an elephant as a pet, on the walk outside the nature.
I believe, it was a bit strange, for the camp runners. Most of the tourists want an elephant ride or having a picture while sitting on elephant.
We wanted to be alone with the elephant in the water and get closer with it, if possible. We wanted to “make friend”.
At the beginning we waited for the elephants reaction, will it let us come closer? May we touch it somewhere close to its face?
Well first day we met elephant named Siriporn (born 1977).
Siriporn was noble elder elephant and as we found out on the field he was a bit nervous. As Kristin tried to approach Siriporn, its big ears started to wave, until it bumped her in the face.
Well, elephant got a big pair of ears. Siriporn did not seem to be very happy about having Kristin coming too close to him, but we had to try. Kristin maintained a distance after this experience as well.
Siriporn got a big portion of pineapples when we came back to the camp anyway.
Owner understood, sort of, what we wanted to do, he was a photographer as it turned out. It is always great to meet a photographer fella out in the alien world. He suggested different elephant, so we agreed to try out next morning.
Next day morning was a beautiful sunrise, we came to camp and met Som-o (born 1997). I think it was a love at the first sight.
Som-o seemed to be all right and let Kristin come close to him, touch his face, lean on him, Som-o was calm all the time.
We stood at the water and tried different poses. Elephant wrangler was with us at all times most of the time covered behind the elephant. It was an extraordinary experience for both of us, photographer and the model as well. Meeting the elephant so close was spectacular, it is an majestic animal indeed.
In this final photograph I replaced the sky for more dramatic one.
You can have a look how the photo session with Som-o took place.