Renowned photographer David Yarrow, infamous for his dramatic, immersive images, continues to push himself to create challenging and consequential pictures. As a totally integral part of his photographic process, David Yarrow hunts for his momentous photographs through meticulous research and preparation for a shoot. Figuring out how to surmount physical and logistical challenges, he works to either construct or find special pictures, and although weeks or months may have been necessary to create a picture, he works relentlessly to find that, as Yarrow refers to it, “1/125” of a second.
In his recent work, David Yarrow shapes his creative vision through pictures that offer a fresh take on experiences of the open road. The pictures reference the tradition of the American travel picture. As homages from a picturesque Hollywood/Western genre, Yarrow provides his unique take on that rugged Americanism; exploring ways to both use and break the clichés of the Wild West. In images like the Usual Suspects or The Break Up, David Yarrow characterizes that resilient independence of the Western narrative, including symbolic images of the mythical lone wolf and the old Western time-worn backdrops of saloons and desert monuments.
“I have long had a visceral attraction to the Wild West and no state embodies the final frontier of America more than Montana. In the hills in the winter there is a sense of timelessness. The clock seemingly broke about 100 years ago.”
Yarrow plays with these clichés; entitling an ultimate moment of bliss, of driving into the “happily-ever-after” sunset as The Break Up, or perhaps referencing the visuals in Thelma & Louise. In The Usual Suspects, analogous to Gary Cooper’s High Noon, Yarrow brings the unsuspecting viewer into the narrative of the bar’s rag-tag characters; pouring themselves a drink, playing billiards, and letting the scene unfold, to the endless possibilities of the viewer’s imagination.
“I asked the barman if he minded me bringing a wolf into the bar. “What’ll he have?” he said”
David Yarrow creates a cinematic linkage throughout many of his images, using the titles as well as the subject of his images to represent popular, accessible narratives. For, The Breakfast Club, Wakanda, and Ocean’s Eleven, Yarrow engages the collective knowledge of famous cinematic works to create an anthropomorphic and relatable mise en scenè. Yarrow photographs his subjects, like the king penguins of South Georgia as well as the black panthers of South Africa, in accordance with his regular modus operandi of animal conservation. In these photographs, the primal, great wisdom that nature inherently contains is understood, through the lens of subtle humor and a sense of empathy, from the marching king penguins to the carousing wolf.
The riches and diversity of the natural habitats which inspire, and challenge David Yarrow keeps him searching for “off-road” and afterhours adventures. The isolation and less frequent footprint of man allows Yarrow to an unspoiled sense of environmental wilderness. He works diligently to gain access to a less travelled world and share that as well as life contained within, with his audience. In the end, whether David Yarrow is constructing “ghost town” images based on the West or capturing photographs celebrating the wonders of the animal world, his work has a vibrancy, a palpable energy, and an immediacy that sets him apart. One if left wondering, what will be next for David Yarrow?