Good Morning Siberia, Archival Pigment Print, 2018, ed. 12, 132 x 178 cm
GOOD MORNING SIBERIA
When we released this powerful image on social media, we were asked what sort of lens magnification was used. Many camera enthusiasts thought that given the dangerous subject matter, it must have been a 400m telephoto lens or more, but this sort of distance compression would have taken the power away from the portrait. This photograph was actually taken with a 105m lens and the benefits are immediately clear. We were that close. If a fashion photographer is working with a top model, it is most unlikely that he or she will even carry a telephoto lens to the assignment as the best distance to work from is anything from close to very close. Ideally it should be no different with a predator – but clearly there are issues with proximity, which is why I often use remote controls. In this conservation area, there is no chance of using a remote as it is absolutely forbidden to step foot on the ground for patently obvious reasons. The only possibility therefore is to shoot from my caged vehicle with our camera window about 4 feet off the ground. This means that good shooting locations would be very limited, as I never really want to be above the eye of an animal – that angle of view immediately kills a sense of a real encounter. The lower the camera, the more immersive the image. In our reconnaissance there was just one small hill that the vehicle could get close to in the deep snow – the topography in this part of north east China can be extremely flat and we just had to hope that the tiger would work his way to our vantage point. Vehicles cannot get stuck here, as that then poses a logistical problem, so it was all quite a riddle. It was complicated further by the fact that the light also becomes too stark by about 10 am in the winter – we were asking for a great deal to come right. The clock ticks on a cold, clear Siberian morning in January. It did, however, happen and the bonus was that the tiger was enormous – maybe 750 pounds and I was working from just 5 feet away. It was a high energy moment – this is surely one of the world’s most ruthless killers.
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.