Anne's Eye | by Connie Brown
I’d been depicting elephants on maps for many years, doing the job pretty decently. But there was something about Anne Armfield’s elephant photographs, especially one of them, that stopped me in my tracks.
Anne commissioned a map of East Africa, intended to show specific locations she and her husband Edward particularly enjoyed in their many trips to the region. She requested various animal species for me to depict, and as source material for those depictions, she said she would be sending her own photos, apologizing in advance for sending so many.
Clients often send me photos, often really great and useful images. Nothing, however, prepared me for Anne’s extraordinary work: she’s an amazing, and way too modest, wildlife photographer. With our elephant map as testimony, I claim that her photos were actually transformative for me, as no doubt they are for others. She seemed to capture the soul and essence of every creature in her East African portfolio. There was one in particular that seemed to shed light on elephant intelligence and understanding:
This image haunted me. Even after I’d completed Anne’s map (a gift for her husband), I went back repeatedly to her elephant eye, a portal—as I saw it—to the essential elephant. It’s the photograph that galvanized me to propose an elephant map to my animal-loving friend Katie Losey. So thank you, Anne Armfield, for your discerning eye, and may you continue to reveal the souls of animals with your rare gift.
Below is my painting, an interpretation of Anne’s Eye (as Katie and I call it):