NEW RELEASESHear from David: The Stories Behind these Photographs
"I needed a quiet day to shoot on set and that always pointed to a Sunday, but I also wanted an emphatic written reference as well as the architectural reference somewhere in the frame. The green street sign posts of “Wall Street” were too high to incorporate meaningfully into the picture and I saw no real workable alternative. I sensed it really was a bridge too far to be able to include the words Wall Street and I recognised that, as always, I was being a bit visually greedy. I had no depth of field on my camera and so any sign with Wall Street on it had to be as close to the camera as the wolf, or the letters would be a blur. But by some extraordinary stroke of luck, when I found my shooting location lying on the cobbled street, there, smack in front of me on the road, was a museum plate that spoke of Wall Street’s history. I had no idea it was there and at the margin this detail makes all the difference. This was not an easy shot, but we got there and to the best of my knowledge, we got there first."
"When we shoot in the winter, weather plays a large part in our planning, but given the speed at which weather can change, it does not pay to be too prescriptive too far out from shooting days. But we continually check weather patterns and within 36 hours of a shoot, we tend to home in on a certain plan. There are, I guess, four or five weather possibilities in the winter: melting snow and sunny, which is horrid; cold and sunny, which is better but restricts filming time; a snowstorm, which is exciting, but can impair detail or, ideally, the end of a big snow fall. In the Rockies, I guess there are about a dozen days a year when a big storm passes through and clears, leaving behind a winter wonderland and kind gentle light. This is the film maker’s big opportunity, provided the props are in place and access is still possible. It is always challenging, but these are the days we wait for. They don’t come that often. We know the Durango to Silverton steam train well and have built up a strong friendship with the owner Al Harper and his wonderful team of engineers in Durango. I sensed there was an opportunity at this jaw dropping location made famous by its appearance some 50 years ago in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. We were in town and waiting as the storm system pushed through. It had lasted 36 hours and left 18 inches of new snow in the San Juan Forest that the old steam train cuts through. We had to operate fast, as the light was picking up all the time and both teams worked quickly to get everyone in position early in the day. The Native American and the horse had the toughest job - that was no easy brief that day. When I look at this photograph, I feel some sense of pride, it is a hell of a shot. But not pride in myself, pride in all the people that made it happen. A real team effort."
MARSHLANDS"I think this is one of my most powerful lion photographs over the last 10 years and a tribute to the skills of Kevin Richardson - The Lion Whisperer - whose ability to work with these magnificent cats is without equal. The previous night, the thunderstorms around Dinokeng, South Africa, were so violent and relentless that sleeping was impossible. My restlessness was compounded by my excitement about the amount of flood water that would be building in Kevin’s famous sanctuary. We often talk about bad weather being an opportunity not a threat and the torrential rain in the region offered a chance for us to practice what we preach. I knew that it was going to be dirty work as, at my behest, Kevin’s heavy cage would be positioned in the new marshland at first light. These lions are wild, and the only way to gain proximity is to use remotes or work from a very heavy cage. Remotes were a non-runner with the water levels, so it was time for me to get very wet and suck it up. The end result made it all worthwhile. I can’t really get more out of an adult male lion than this and what a majestic animal he is."
FERRARI"In the 1950s, the Californian Dream made Route 66 the most famous road in the world. “The Mother Road”, as John Steinbeck described it in The Grapes of Wrath, became the route of flight for the American Middle Class; a trend accelerated by the rapidly evolving Californian economy and the opening of Disneyland in 1955. The stretch of road heading east near Amboy in the baking Californian desert showcases the Route 66 journey as it once was. The sense of scale offers the filmmaker a valuable tool kit and I have been drawn to this outpost for many years. It is a commitment of time to get there, but one that many road trippers make because of the iconic Roy’s Motel and Cafe which serves as the one identifiable landmark in a barren desert. Amboy is a known known and I worried how I could break new ground because like all spectacular vistas in the US, it has been well photographed. The challenge is not in getting there, but in transcending when one does. I called upon a Hong Kong friend who is a passionate investor in vintage cars and owns one of the most lauded and valuable collections in the world. I explained the shoot concept and he graciously offered up one his most coveted treasures - the 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Spider. It was one of only 12 built in the world and when one comes up at auction, they sell for more than a London townhouse. His team was kind enough to transport this fabled Ferrari 1,000 miles across the country, but at least when they arrived, they understood the opportunity. It was going to be a trip well made. The design of the Ferrari was perfect as its low windscreen allowed my lens direct access into the faces of the girl (the wonderful Daniela Braga) and the wolf. They could then hold centre stage and let all the other constituent parts play off each other. The goal of this shoot was to play on the metaphor that is Route 66. It encapsulates the American Dream, as it was the road of freedom and ambition. Go West, work hard, stay focused and enjoy the very best of lives. We styled to the mid 1950s and I told Daniela to exude a sense of positivity. She should look, as Nat King Cole suggested, that she was “Getting her Kicks on Route 66”. Hard not to in that Ferrari."
David Yarrow: New Releases