David Yarrow is an incredible fine-art photographer, financier, conservationist and author, based in Britain. He is currently one of the bestselling fine-art photographers in the world.
From the beginning of his career, which started when he was named Young Scottish Photographer of the year at the age of twenty, he challenged himself to take photos in conditions that are far away from his comfort zone. That same year (1986) he was offered by The Times magazine to cover The World Cup Final in Mexico City, where he took the iconic image of Diego Maradona holding the World Cup.
He enjoyed capturing the energy of the crowd at such events, but it was many years later that he discovered his love for documenting the natural world. David fits the true description of a wildlife photographer in every sense of the word.
The extensive research and preparation that he does for each of his projects, as well as overcoming countless unexpected obstacles in the field, shows how dedicated he is to his work. He has traveled all over the world, often working alone and in difficult conditions.
David specializes in documenting endangered species and indigenous communities in order to show a world worth saving to the public. When observing his work, the communicative power of his images is hard to miss. The place. The time. The human connection to the animal. The culture. His photography could be used as a way of communication across the world.
David demonstrates a strong desire to be connected to his subject matter and understand it better. Whether it is an animal or a human being, he cares about their emotions and stories they have to share, and tries to present them in the way that perhaps he and the viewer did not expect. He goes far beyond the stereotypical wildlife imagery, with his unique point of view and strenuous methods of photographing.
Even though he talks about his adventures with great love and excitement, short documentary videos of his projects show us the danger and problems that he is facing whenever he travels. David also shares a great deal of advice in those videos, accompanied by exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of his struggles to capture the perfect photograph. In the video "Mankind, South Sudan", related to his project "Mankind" from 2015, he traveled to Yirol, the place of the tribe with one of the tallest people in the world.
"My sense was that it was perhaps the last really elemental, raw place left in the world." as David described it in the video.
David went through a lot of trouble to get this shot. He had to use a ladder, which he had to carry across the river inhabited by crocodiles, because he knew he wouldn’t be able to see the entire action without it. One of the pillars of economy in Yirol is cattle ranching, and David wanted to capture it.
By positioning himself to be higher than the subject, he managed to get people's silhouettes against the smoke. Purposefully created deep depth of field in the photograph allows the viewer to see every detail of the large herd of cattle, the people and dust that envelops them. David's willpower to do whatever it takes to get the shot he envisioned, makes this photograph a stunning visual experience. You can see his genuine interest in their lifestyle and culture. The most important part is the sensitivity to the subject you are approaching. His portraits transcend the generic mainstream photography because he tries to get both physically and spiritually close to his subject.
This "Warrior Portrait" is from the time he spent at the Sudanese border. He stood in the river up to his waist to take a portrait of an Omo warrior. "On this occasion I really felt that I wanted to photograph a warrior in the river, which meant that I had to get into it because the key thing in my photography is the eyes. I want to be at the same level as whoever's eyes I'm photographing" as David explains in the video "David Yarrow:Warrior".
There is a segment on David's website called "David's technical tips" with a complete list of the equipment he uses and valuable tips and insights into his methods. For this kind of work, you need to be able to rely on your equipment, so he goes in detail about the Nikon camera bodies and lenses he has been using for the past 30 years. Wildlife photography requires technical precision and preparation, as well as luck. More often than not, things don't go as planned.
In "David's technical tips" he explains how he uses an unusual piece of equipment - a custom made steel box - as a casing for his camera. The steel box is placed near the subject matter, while David triggers the shutter from a safer distance, with the help of a hand-held switch. It keeps his camera and the pictures safe until the animal goes away, when David can retrieve the box. That is exactly how he captured this portrait of the lioness in the plains of Lake Amboseli during sunrise, in Kenya. Interestingly, they used the Old Spice perfume on the steel box that quickly attracted the animal. However, right after the shot was taken, the lioness curiously took the camera casing and walked away, carrying it with her.
The box was found later, but it has been through difficult times: from being carried away by a lioness, to getting buried in a swamp in Camargue, as well as being smothered in rhino’s excrement to attract the animal.
David's method of leaving the camera and pulling the shutter at the perfect moment was the only way to capture this image. He spends several days in the natural habitat of the animal he is photographing, striving to create the perfect shot. Paying attention to every detail, he accentuates the texture created by dried mud stuck to the elephant's skin, giving the image a stronger effect.
David's work is unique because it shows the perspective of someone being an accepted insider of the world that is foreign to us. While looking at his photographs, the unsettling feeling of being a little too close to the animal is present. He is showing us the parts of our world that we have never seen. That idea is perhaps the best articulated in his latest work - the award winning book "Wild Encounters".
It is a collection of photographs spanning over the course of three years, bringing together the life of animals and people from extreme environments and different parts of the world such as Asia, Africa, America, Europe and Antarctic continent. David is committed to protect and preserve the rare environments in which he works. All royalties from the book are donated to Tusk, a British non-profit organization, with David as their affiliated photographer and a member of their advisory board. Tusk organization focuses on maintaining Africa's natural heritage and securing the future of its land, people and culture.
David is also an ambassador of the Wild Ark organization that empowers people to take an active role in wildlife conservation. He uses his acclaimed photography skills to help and promote environmental causes to the public. He shows the importance and value of every living creature, and the way human beings form an alliance with animals and nature.
We recommend you check out the rest of David's work on his website davidyarrow.photography and his instagram.
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