I see almost 10,000 pictures a day, and many document some form of suffering. Some of that suffering is incidental as people try to survive, some happens in chaotic situations, and some is intentional. But in all of it, I’ve never seen an image of such a deliberate infliction of misery.
What’s particularly effective about this picture is the baby elephant’s flinch. She knows it’s going to hurt - you can see her shying away from the blow, which is the point: to cause enough pain to break her will.
To learn how you can affect the situation, read on for a Q&A with photojournalist Brent Lewin, who won a Science/Natural History Award of Excellence for this image at the Pictures of the Year competition.