Miami-born Annette Bonnier studied Documentary Photography at the University of Florida, and now travels the world with her camera. She has worked with eminent photographers such as Steve McCurry, Mary Ellen Marks, Maggie Steber, David Alan Harvey and Eli Reed. Her photos have appeared in many publications including the New York Times, The Independent, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Wanderlust Magazine and Tropic Magazine, Miami Herald.She has had several gallery shows: Marguilles Warehouse, Miami, FL; Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Moro Palazzo – GAAFoundation, Venice, Italy and Books & Books, Coral Gables & Miami Beach.
As a documentary photographer, Annette Bonnier traveled throughout India over a 3-year period photographing the lives of domesticated and wild elephants. She has focused on a society, which revels in the joyous magnificence and spiritual presence as well as the hardships of an amazing animal. She has captured the world surrounding their lives delicately interwoven in Indian Society.
This collection of photographs is a cultural documentation of this complex and majestic animal, with its intelligence, intricate social hierarchy, and highly evolved communication skills, and is caught in a changing world between the past and the future. The images guide us through villages, temples, logging camps and circuses where elephants labor, delight and inspire worshipers and tourists to the final image of the Lord Ganesh, a spiritual culmination of a cycle between man and beast.
Steve McCurry writes – “Annette Bonnier’s work with the elephants of India is a testament to her fascination with these great creatures, and the unique and intricate relationship they share with humanity - at times worshipped, and other times enslaved, this interdependence is as controversial as it is complex.”
Annette Bonnier’s photographs define the very essence of these great beasts and are profoundly moving. She conveys their tender playfulness, their fortitude and seeming pride, and awakens a gentle compassion.
Annette Bonnier writes – “Throughout India elephants are respected as a spiritual animal, and Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, is venerated as one of the highest deities in the Hindu religion. However, there is an unusual dichotomy in the role of the elephant in Indian society, which wavers between the animal as an enlightened, spiritual being and as a beast of burden. Shadowing the elephant’s path throughout the most remote corners of India has been an extraordinary adventure. As a symbol of India, the elephant stirs incredible passion wherever she goes.”