David Yarrow, recognized as one of the best-selling fine art photographers in the world, will be at Sorrel Sky during Indian Market. The opening reception for his one-man show is on August 19 from 5-7:30 pm. That same evening, at 6:30 pm, he will give a talk about his groundbreaking work, including pieces from his Wild West Series, shot over the past several months in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. David’s large-format, evocative, and immersive photography of life on earth is distinctive and has earned him an ever-growing following amongst art collectors.
The scenes David captures are the result of two major factors. The first is spadework. The second is access. He and his team put in countless hours doing research and scouting for locations, initiating and maintaining connections with local, national, and international public figures to photograph some of the world’s most unreachable and at times dangerous environments. The final image may be one of only two or three that he feels is good enough to make available each year. The results are intimate, evocative, bringing the viewer into close proximity with people, places, and wildlife that they may never encounter on their own.
Keep scrolling to read the story behind some of David’s images.
“Your best picture is always the one you have never taken. It is always ahead of you.”— David Yarrow
Opening reception is on August 19th from 5-7:30 pm at our downtown Santa Fe location at 125 W. Palace Ave. David’s art talk, open to the public, will begin at 6:30 pm. The show continues through August 31. You can always find David’s work at Sorrel Sky Santa Fe, Sorrel Sky Durango and SorrelSky.com.
“David’s photographs stop me in my tracks … the combination of the actual size of each print, the lighting, subject, and perspective. He consistently places himself at the right place, at the right time, and then shares that with us. His personal commitment to push himself to capture the best image and his drive to capture the next amazing image add to the vibrance and energy we each feel when we stand in front of his work.”— Shanan Campbell, owner of Sorrel Sky Gallery
David Yarrow narrates the development of various shots …
Chief — Wyoming
Over the last few weeks we have quietly been photographing senior Native Americans against the backdrop of quintessential and emblematic American vistas.
Whilst we will be releasing some of the series in the run up to the Presidential Election, this is not an overtly political statement from us. We know that Native Americans have long had a leaning toward the Democratic Party, but we took this assignment on because it is relevant, not to be political.
There is wide recognition now that Christopher Columbus did not discover America in 1492 and the events in Minneapolis have accelerated the debate on the possibility of institutionalised racism in the teaching of American history. This is not a discussion we want to fully engage in – as we are ill equipped to add value, but I do want to celebrate some of the tribal elders I have had the fortune to encounter in the last month. Their pride, manners, grace and humility have been humbling. We have made new friends in the North.
For this project we worked with Chief John Spotted Tail, the great-great-grandson of the fabled Lakota chief Spotted Tail. We spent two days with him in Northern Wyoming and he was so excited to wear the headpiece that only the most senior Native American chiefs like him can wear. His attire was emphatically his decision not ours. Their heritage is integral to their souls.
The ground in front of Devils Tower has film history. It is, of course, where Spielberg shot Close Encounters of a Third Kind immediately after the release of Jaws in 1975. More poignantly, it is sacred land for Native Americans, and at dawn, before our early morning shoot, John and his wife – Tamara Stands and Looks Back, spent some time there praying.
At around 8.30 am, the low hanging clouds lifted above the iconic geographical landmark and shafts of light lit up our canvas. We had our moment. Later that day, when I showed Chief John Spotted Tail this image, he shed a tear and I am proud to admit I did too. It was one of the most privileged days I have ever had in the field.
The Iron Horse — Durango, Colorado
The iron horse was as vital to the push west in America as the horse itself. The railroads linked the west to the nation as a whole and steam engines added a glamorous component to the wild west visual narrative.
In researching my anthology to this period in American history, I was – as a romanticist – drawn towards these railroads. The research led us to the famous Durango to Silverton steam train in Colorado, partly because the track runs through the most dramatic of landscapes, but also because the narrow gauge track service remains largely the same as it was when the railroad opened in 1882. The iron horses themselves are authentic and in excellent working order.
We want to thank the owners of the train for collaborating with us on this project. We scouted for two days and then shot for a further two. Some of the staff were kind enough to say that this photograph is the most powerful they have ever seen of this famous train journey high in the Colorado mountains. I don’t know about that, but it is certainly my strongest image for many a month.
I knew as soon as I took the picture that we had something and I have many people to thank – in particular the horse owners and cowboys. Positioning horses by a cliff edge with a steam engine coming around the corner requires top professionals and that is exactly what we had. This was not a location for those suffering from vertigo.
The key decision was to place a lone outlaw on the right hand of the track giving the frame compositional balance and despite his anonymity, his presence makes the photograph even more powerful.
I hope a few of these prints find homes in Colorado – that would make me very happy.
The Beast of Yellowstone — Wyoming
This is a beast of a bison. I will leave others to decide if it is a monster of a photograph, but it is as good as I can possibly do. His size, the mountain on the left, the snow laden forest on the right and the virginal snow in the foreground all coalesce in the most fortuitous manner. Meanwhile, the early morning sunlight allows for every detail on the bison’s face.
This portrait was taken with a 35mm lens, the best portrait lens I know and this image is proof as to why. Setting the remote up was not that challenging as the massive bull was some distance from me at the time, but we then had to hope that we’d got both the maths and the bison’s direction of travel right. But this was down to luck more than judgement and this one image is perhaps the reward for the multiple of times we have failed. It is moments like these that offer the reason for using remotes, rather than just playing it simple and working with a telephoto.
To me this photograph just shouts “Yellowstone”, America’s oldest National Park and one that in winter is an artist’s dream. There is simply no place like it on earth. It’s a very difficult image to replicate and I hope it will stand the test of time.
A River Runs Through It — Wyoming
Ansel Adams brought the majesty of Snake River and the Tetons into the homes of Americans in 1942. So there is no real commercial merit in a photographer traveling to this sensational destination in Wyoming and taking a loose landscape image on a tripod. They may take a beautiful image, but manifestly they would also be 79 years behind the curve. Teton National Park is an imperial amphitheater deserving not only our attention, but also our respect, and we are rather late in the game in documenting its magnificence. New images of the Eiffel Tower rarely make a Sotheby’s auction.
My strategy in the Tetons was to play with what we had and be authentic in the additives. We threw around many ideas and then threw most out.The most authentic suggestion was the idea of working with a native American in a 19th century canoe on Snake River itself. The concept was sound, but the execution was hampered by the fact that the most scenic stretches of the river are three miles further east from the mountains than I would like.
On a standard lens, the peaks lose some of their sense of enormity. But there is one stretch of water where the river runs parallel and much closer to the mountain base. The river banks are a little higher and block the base, but this was a small price to pay for the improved proximity between the canoe and the mountain range.
In good light, this was always a late afternoon location, and the January temperature that day was low. I knew I was going to get wet and cold as the camera needed to be on the river’s surface and that meant me being deep in the river in normal ski clothing. The lower the camera, the more the mountains were amplified, and the canoe would also then be flat to my camera. The picture was all that mattered in those 10 minutes, not my comfort.
Haatepah in the canoe was so game and did an extraordinary job.