Before Man, Archival Pigment Print, 2019, 101 x 203 cm, ed. 12 + 3 AP | 132 x 285 cm, ed. 12 + 3 AP
This is the right title for this congested scene around a watering hole in Savute, Botswana. I needed a vista that could offer depth and the bank here was perfect. Finding the location was key to a concept that had been on my “mood board” for some time. There is a timeless authority to the photograph and monochrome lends to that authority. We had a preconceived notion of what we wanted and it was not far off this image, though I never expected giraffes to play a part. The first trip we failed because the location was quiet and so I came all the way back - from Brazil - to try again. The key was for the elephants to come when there was enough light for meaningful depth of field, but not so stark a light that facial shadows impinged on the quality of the narrative. So 11 o’clock was a good time. It is never going to happen much before then as it takes time to warm up in Savute in August and elephants - like humans - bathe and drink when it is hot, not cold. The light at 11 am is much kinder than the hottest period of the day - around 3.30 - 4 pm. I was as close as I could be without altering behaviour and the 58mm was the perfect lens - at F11 or F16 it allowed for pin sharp focus in the lead bull, but also crucially for the elephants and giraffes way in the distance to be in the focal field. This photograph plays homage to the romanticist’s Africa.
David Yarrow was born in Scotland and is currently based in London. David Yarrow is known for travelling the world’s remotest regions to capture compelling images of nature as we‘ve never seen it before, and is redefining wildlife photography in the process.
His monochrome photographs are bursting with life, vitality and movement, yet the majority of Yarrow’s subject matter, from rampaging bull elephants in Kenya to Inuit hunters and Bornean orangutans, is living on the brink of extinction. This is nature at its most majestic – and its most fragile.
Yarrow’s unorthodox camera angles and unique shooting methods transport the viewer right into the heart of the action; with split-second timing, he crystallises a single instant of drama into an image so immersive that it cannot be viewed in just a few moments. These are photographs to linger over.