Captivating, witty and above all entertaining, David Yarrow has created a podcast series detailing exclusive behind-the-scenes stories about some of his most iconic images. From plunging into the icy Norwegian sea without a wetsuit to smuggling SD cards out of North Korea, Yarrow proves that taking the money shot - or what he refers to as the so-called ‘cigar shot’- may not always be as easy as it seems. His stories, unbelievable and yet totally authentic, prove that it takes both a methodical approach and an unwavering resilience to capture the magic of the world around us.
In anticipation of the next episode of In Focus, we spoke to Yarrow to discuss his new podcast, the dangers of the job and all things United States.
Episode 1 sees you battling low light and the icy waters of Norway, do you always encounter external challenges when taking your photographs?
I think we would worry if we didn't encounter challenges, because then it would be too easy. If it was too easy everyone would be doing it. It’s not every shoot that I accidentally fall out of my vehicle in amongst the animals – but sometimes you have to take a risk to get the right perspective.
You talk about a very close call with hyperthermia, when you started your career did you realise your job would end up being so dangerous?
I don't think it's dangerous. We embellish jeopardy. I have two kids; I wouldn’t do anything dangerous. I’m more a threat to myself.
From orcas to lions, you seem to have photographed a menagerie of animals! Is there any species you’ve yet to capture?
Maybe the Panthers in Brazil. I don't think we've finished with big grizzly bears. Maybe the big bears in Kodiak, Alaska. I’m not quite finished with whales either. We can always get better in everything we could take. Though, I think I’ve probably photographed enough lions and elephants for a while.
In your podcast, you discuss your distinctive style of photography. How did you come up with your iconic technique of photographing animals at eye-level?
Just by seeing which pictures emotionally engage people. The pictures that do always seem to be the ones shot at the animal’s eye level. I think that is because the eyes are the window to the soul. It is always about the eyes. Whatever the animal’s emotion, it shows in their eyes.
Each episode transports us to a new country; do you have a favourite location you’ve been to?
North America – there is just so much to photograph there. It is also fun, always something to do in the evenings. It is also geographically diverse. One time my team and I took a flight from Alaska to Arizona and they lost our bags. We then had to walk around Phoenix in 40-degree heat with snow pants on. That’s all in one country and the beauty of the landscape reflects that.
What can we expect from the rest of the In Focus series?
More of me pushing boundaries, I hope. We take it back to Mankind where it all began – that was a seminal moment in my career that I had to cover. It’s been a lot of fun so far and there will always be more stories to tell.
In Focus with David Yarrow is a six episode series and to tune in to episode 3, available from this coming Wednesday 17th February, please visit https://davidyarrowpodcast.podbean.com/ or tune in to wherever you get your podcasts.