David Yarrow - Cara Delevingne
“There are no universal rules in photography—only personal ones. My central premise is that if photography was a language, then focus would be the most important word in that lexicon. Focus deliberately includes or it deliberately excludes, and it should be emphatically clear what the photographer is trying to say.” – David Yarrow
David Yarrow was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1966. He took up photography at an early age and as a 20-year-old found himself working as a photographer for The London Times on the pitch at the World Cup Final in Mexico City. On that day, David took the famous picture of Diego Maradona holding the World Cup and, as a result, was subsequently asked to cover the Olympics and numerous other sporting events. Many years later David established himself as a fine art photographer by documenting the natural world from new perspectives.
David’s evocative and immersive photography of life on earth is most distinctive and has earned him an ever growing following amongst art collectors. He is now recognized as one of the best selling fine art photographers in the world and his limited edition works regularly sell at high prices at Sotheby’s and other auction houses around the world.
Montana, USA - 2020
“This photograph, taken high in the mountains of Montana, offers strong clues as to why Cara Delevingne is a global superstar. She has the eyes and the face to steal most scenes and the intelligence to play a prescribed role. There is nothing I would change in her look in this vignette. It is a perfect combination of purpose and rather unhinged menace. She can do this as easily as some people flick a switch.
Chief John Spotted Tail of the Lakota tribe was an excellent foil for Cara and they work well together. He is revered locally and it was an honor to have him on set. He brings a further edge to an image encapsulating my read on the old Wild West: a place of guns; trouble in hard drinking saloons; occasional bad weather and maverick characters. No wonder Westerns have a film genre to themselves - it is too rich a seam in the material to have to share a category with anything else. To go “West” was perhaps the greatest adventure story the world has ever known.”
Wyoming, USA - 2020
“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 FINAL FRONTIER
Montana, USA - 2020
“The Pioneer bar in Virginia City has offered so much to us over the years and we are acutely conscious not to overplay our hand here. After all, there are many other weathered saloons in the West. We don’t want to be repetitive in our storytelling. That would be lame.
Equally, for our work, The Pioneer is emphatically the best bar known to us. It has depth and the wagon wheel on the ceiling is ideally positioned. More importantly, it is home turf for us and last year I was honored to receive “The Freedom of the City”. I have the key in my briefcase. The owner of The Pioneer partners with us rather than simply permitting us and that is a material difference.
But when we go back each winter, it is important to bring a new variable to offer the chance of an image that can transcend. There is no point going backwards. My new variable this time was Cara Delevingne and her established team of stylists and hair and make-up artists. To bring such a celebrated and relevant woman as Cara to Montana is fresh ground. Put her in front of the Eiffel Tower and it is a new look on the Eiffel Tower.
I gave her team a directive for this shot: bad ass; sexy; sovereign; 1920’s but still very much Cara. They absolutely nailed it, as did she. The hat made a huge difference. I can’t think of any other woman in the world I would prefer to play this role.
These are not easy images to execute as there is such limited light. Depth of field and shutter speeds are therefore compromised. Cara would always be sharp - that was easy - then we had to hope for some luck elsewhere. Cameras have improved so much over the years in terms of ability to work in low light. I could not have done this 10 years ago. But you are pushing the camera right to the edge of its capability.
She owns this shot.”
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Montana, USA - 2020
Taking these two old mountain men to this sensational saloon in southern Montana was a logistical challenge. John, the 95-year-old accordion player, lives on his own in the middle of nowhere and is 80% deaf, but we knew his face would fit and that he would enjoy himself.
He was a talkative fellow. When I drove him home the next day, he spoke for an hour without stopping. I am now fully familiar with the story of the Scandinavia emigration to the West 120 years ago and indeed all his lovers. John actually played the accordion with distinction and, of course, was oblivious to his audience. “Pretty girl”, he said on the way home. John never married.
The other John we know well. He fully embraces the notion that ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere’ and consequentially he is a little unsteady on his feet from time to time. But between the two Johns I had the narrative I was seeking. I was playing to my well-trodden path of visual disquietude. When asking myself the question as to who to blend Cara with in a 100-year-old bar in the wild west, my mind said - that’s easy - 100-year-old men.
The saloon had so much textural detail, but we were not shooting for an interior design magazine and I wanted to keep the light low and moody. After all, that’s the reality of these places. To flood the place with light and increase my depth of field would kill the image. My focal point was always going to be Cara’s eyes - it is in every shot with her. Why would you go anywhere else?