|Hello from the Critique Club!
This is a wonderful photo with a number of great eye-grabbing elements. To start, I will say that I gave the image a middle score during the voting, because though it is a superb photo, I found the fit into shapes a little nebulous - it has a shape as anything does, but the emphasis of the image as a whole did not revolve around that shape in my eyes. In a better fitting challenge this would have easily received an 8.
Let's take a look at the other aspects of this photo.
Subject: What immediately grabs my attention is the subject. The elephant is great, in itself there is a lot of character and that helps draw the viewer in. The detail on the figurine is excellent and this is one of the great elements I mentioned prior and one of my favorite aspects of the image.
Focus: The focus is one of the two things that make or break this image. It is for the most part perfect. It brings out the intricate details of the wrinkling on the elephant - adding interest, and gives the image a very nice polished look. The one area that needs work was mentioned previously in other comments where the ear is a bit soft. While this isn't a huge detractant, it is noticeable.
Lighting: Part two of the make or break set is the lighting. I think it is great here, though there are areas that look a bit over-exposed. Your choice of background though really helps play this off and I imagine the lighting is what helps get the wrinkle details to come out so nicely.
Composition: Mentioned before, the black background was the right choice for this. It really sets the tone of the elephant off and helps give the photo a polished look. The border is very nice as well, it keeps my eyes in the photo instead of distracting attention away as some borders can.
I also like the positioning of the subject. The elephant has distinct lines and curves that help it fit into the challenge subject and these were clearly best shown in a profile shot. I don't know how this would've looked head-on but I doubt it would've been as dynamic.
I also enjoy the fact that you didn't feel you had to use the whole statue (or figurine) to get your shot. The head and upper body likely have the most character and detail and this is what you focused on. Very nicely thought out.
Finally, what I like the most besides the detail are the contrasts, both in the color of the elephant against the black background as well as the complexity of the elephant (visible in its detailing) vs the simple clean background. These two play very well together and give the photo a nice punch.
While this didn't do well in the Shapes challenge, I do not believe it is because the photo isn't an achievement technically. I think it simply didn't have the focus on shape that viewers were looking for. It is a superb photo in its own right and I could only wish to take one half as good.