Poetic Images Celebrating the Harmony of Man and Beast

Elephant prayingPhoto: Gregory Colbert

The pictures are haunting, almost cosmic in their beauty. Animal and man seem to be one. Such is the beauty of Canadian artist Gregory Colbert’s photography in his exhibit Ashes and Snow.

elephant underwaterPhoto: Grogory Colbert

In this traveling exhibition, the work explores the “shared poetic sensibilities of human beings and animals”.

elephant boyPhoto: Gregory Colbert

And poetic it is. Ashes and Snow started as novel about a traveler who composes 365 letters to his wife during the course of a year long journey.

The novel then turned into these soul stirring photographs…
girl and leopard ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

which then turned into a film.
elephants ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

To capture these photos, Colbert traveled to more than 60 locations including India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tonga, Namibia, and Antarctica to film and photograph interactions between human beings and animals. Elephants, whales, manatees, sacred ibis, cheetahs, leopards, baboons, meerkats, gibbons, orangutans, and saltwater crocodiles are among the animals that he has filmed and photographed. Human subjects include Burmese monks, trance dancers, San people, and other indigenous peoples from around the world. To date, Colbert has collaborated with over 130 species.
woman and ape ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

Colbert captures these animals at their most natural and elegant.

boy and leopard ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

Gaining spiritual insight…
woman and elephant ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

Reading each others thoughts…
boy and lynx ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

Boy and beast…
boy and lynx ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

Having an animated conversation…
man and elephant ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

Finding peace with a new friend…
woman and elephant ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

Somehow dancing never seemed so poetic…
woman an elephant ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

Honoring the glory and beauty of a majestic animal…
elephant and children ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

Two species honor the other…
elephant monk ashes nd snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

If you believe, you can fly…
boy with wings ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

The structure the exhibit travels in is noteworthy in itself. Colbert conceived the idea for the Ashes and Snow exhibit to be shown in a sustainable traveling museum. Called the Nomadic Museum, the structure is assembled, redesigned and recycled according to the specifics of each location.
nomadic museum ashes and snowPhoto: sabine7

Ashes and Snow and the Nomadic Museum is charted to travel the globe with no final destination.
nomad museum ashes and snowPhoto: David Paul Green

To date, the Ashes and Snow exhibit has attracted more than 10 million visitors, making it the most attended exhibition by a living artist in history
nomadic museum ashes and snowPhoto: David Paul Green

Gazing at these photographs, it is easy to see why.
elephant ears ashes and snowPhoto: © Gregory Colbert

I wish to thank Gregory Colbert, Mary Bahr and Flying Elephant Productions, LLC for their graciously allowing me to use these photos.

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