Jonathan Kingston Book Cover

Cross posted from the Aurora News Blog here.

February 12th, 2009

The cover of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt, published in 2006, features an image by Aurora photographer Jonathan Kingston. The photograph is an underwater shot looking up at an elephant swimming in the Andaman Sea in India with his  trainer on its back. Jonathan tells us that when people see the image they often think it is digitally manipulated, however the image was captured on film and other than some basic tonal correction and dust removal, is a straight shot.


Jonathan was inspired to take the shot by some documentary footage of the elephants by Jacques Cousteau.  Thinking it would be a relatively easy feat to find elephants swimming, he was surprised by the difficulty he encountered arranging government permission to shoot the elephants.  On his second attempt, he was able to get his shot.  “Seeing the underwater view of an elephant swimming in the crystal blue waters of the Andaman sea was was one of the most amazing and beautiful things I have ever witnessed.  When the elephant is swimming, its entire body slips below the surface of the water, save the top of its head and its trunk that is raised up like a snorkel.  The frustration of two trips and nearly two years of planning were instantly forgotten in that moment.”

3 thoughts on “Jonathan Kingston Book Cover”

  1. This is my favorite elephant shot! Wooohooo! What a beautiful book cover it makes. Also, the book looks good, which is a huge bonus.

  2. You must have people comment on this photograph all of the time! Why do you not provide an opportunity for purchasing a copy of the image? Are you under contract with the publisher?

  3. Hi John, If you are interested in purchasing a print for personal use as a fine art piece for the home or office, I would be more than happy to make that available. I am under contract for any other uses of the image. Best regards, Jonathan

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