LA-based photographer Simon Needham was spending time at the GG Conservation in South Africa when he came upon a spectacular sight. Atop a mound of bones, an enormous lion stood proudly, surveying his land. The atmospheric sky that surrounded him enhanced the ambiance, as the golden light mirrored the animal’s golden fur. It was the perfect photo.
Needham, who often works with non-profits, was in South Africa to help the sanctuary with their promotional content. The sanctuary is the forever home of over 70 lions that cannot be released back into the wild for a variety of reasons. During his stay, Needham decided to spend the morning at the boneyard. This is where the sanctuary discards carcasses once the lions have finished their meals.
It was a fortunate decision for Needham, who was greeted with the sight of a male lion perched on a hill of bones. “I wanted to create an iconic image that would resonate with people and also be a positive optimistic and powerful image,” Needham tells My Modern Met. It’s his wish that the photograph will inspire hope for the species and remind the public of the strength and beauty of this animal.
With an image so powerful that it seems straight from the The Lion King, Needham has certainly reached his goal. He spends a significant amount of time photographing sanctuaries in South Africa, and to give something extra back, he sells prints on his website. A portion of the proceeds from the prints, which include Lion Bones, go to GG Conservation to help them continue their mission in making the lives of their lions as comfortable as possible.
See more incredible lion photography from Simon Needham.