A traditional killing

Brent Stirton's Image

The world’s largest ivory-carving factory in Beijing employs more than 40 artisans.

‘Ivory carving is seen as an ancient art to be proud of,’ says Brent. ‘The business is worth half a billion dollars annually and the people who profit don’t want it to end.’ Here, a carver works on a Buddhist symbol for prosperity. China is the biggest importer of illegal ivory. The consumers buy as an investment and for the promise of good fortune.

Behind the lens

Brent Stirton

Brent Stirton

South Africa

Brent is a Senior Correspondent for Getty Images. He does most of his work for National Geographic Magazine, focusing on the intersection of humans and the environment.

Image details

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • 16-35mm f2.8 lens at 20mm
  • 1/60 sec at f4.5
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

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