Elephant House by Nigel Rothfels

Elephant House

byNigel RothfelsPhotographed byDick Blau

Hardcover | October 21, 2015

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In Elephant House, photographer Dick Blau and historian Nigel Rothfels offer a thought-provoking study of the Oregon Zoo’s Asian Elephant Building and the daily routines of its residents—human and pachyderm alike. Without an agenda beyond a desire to build a deeper understanding of this enigmatic environment, Elephant House is the result of the authors’ unique creative collaboration and explores the relationships between captive elephants and their human caregivers.

Blau’s evocative photographs are complex and challenging, while Rothfels’s text offers a scholarly and personal response to the questions that surround elephants and captivity. Elephant House does not take sides in the debate over zoos but focuses instead on the bonds of attentiveness between the animals and their keepers. Accompanied by a foreword from retired elephant keeper Mike Keele, Elephant House is a frank, fascinating look at the evolving world of elephant husbandry.

About The Author

Dick Blau, a photographer and filmmaker, is a coauthor of Skyros Carnival, Bright Balkan Morning, and Polka Happiness, three photo-ethnographies that look at the transformative power of music and dance. His work on familial emotion is featured in Jane Gallop's Living with His Camera, readings in the theory of domestic photography.Nigel...
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Details & Specs

Title:Elephant HouseFormat:HardcoverDimensions:108 pages, 9.2 × 9.2 × 0.7 inPublished:October 21, 2015Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271070854

ISBN - 13:9780271070858

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Customer Reviews of Elephant House


Extra Content

Table of Contents



Mike Keele

Elephant House

Nigel Rothfels

Photographs by Dick Blau

List of Photographs


Editorial Reviews

“These photographs are mesmerizing. . . . Blau’s photographs do not return us to a state of innocence with these animals. While the tenderness with which they are cared for is clear and their alert intelligence undeniable, these images haunt us because they forcefully convey how different this consciousness is from our own. Their intelligence, together with their beauty and magnificence, for a brief moment relieves us of our egoistical insistence on our imagined primacy as a species.”—Tom Knechtel, Artillery