David Yarrow’s animal photos

Today I saw David Yarrow’s animal photos at the Rotella Gallery in Soho.

At first, my reaction was rather blasé. I thought here we have a basically kitsch genre of photography, the animal photo, and someone is trying to make it seem more highbrow by showing them in black and white. And then the photos are turned into “limited edition” prints that are marketed to rich people, also making the photographer and the gallery owner rich (or at least affluent) in the process. Assuming the gallery sells enough prints to cover the cost of rent and payroll.

However, after watching this video about David Yarrow, I now have a better appreciation for Mr. Yarrow. What he does is pretty darn cool, actually.

1. He understands that telephoto lenses take boring pictures. He quotes Robert Capa who famously said,“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” The key to his photography is to use a 35mm lens (on a full-frame Nikon camera) and keep the camera low to the ground so that the animals look more menacing.

2. But how does he get so close to the animals? Remote control!

3. He uses zone focusing. He triggers the remote-control shutter when he sees (from a safe distance) that the animals are close enough to the camera.

4. Doesn’t he occasionally lose an expensive camera when an elephant stomps on it? Yes he does, and he has videos showing it happening.

His photos at the Rotella Gallery look pretty sharp, so I guess that full-frame Nikon DSLRs take sharp photos.

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