This excellent video follows the legendary Master David Yarrow, as he captures his iconic images of people and shares the stories behind them.

In this, Part 2, of our video with Masters of Photography founder Chris Ryan, we take a look behind the scenes of David Yarrow’s acclaimed photography of tribes and people. We also learn the story behind two of his most iconic images: Mankind and Unity.

Renowned for his fine art images of endangered animals, wild landscapes and remote tribes, the video offers a superb insight into how he works, his inspirations and the issues faced when working under challenging conditions. 

For those considering doing an online David Yarrow photography course, the video is a wonderful introduction to the Master at work and a chance to experience his relaxed, engaging teaching style. 

To see the full David Yarrow photography masterclass click here


The Video

This outstanding five-minute black and white video packs in a lot in a very short time. It manages to not only give a commentary on two of the artist’s magnificent images, but also to offer a glimpse of just who this acclaimed Master really is.

The video is commentated by the Master himself, from a studio interview with Chris Ryan. As he speaks we see details from his stunning black and white fine art images of the Dinka tribe in South Sudan (the most famous of which is “Mankind”) and also a large scale football match in Germany, where he shot the image called “Unity”.


Following the Road Less Travelled

Yarrow makes the point that there’s not much to celebrate about getting older, one bonus is that you can become a much better photographer – simply because with maturity and experience of life you can learn how to look at things in different ways, and see things that other people can’t see – something he admits he was unable to do as a young man.



Yarrow says that one of the most important things to do as a creative is to challenge yourself and try to go where other photographers haven’t been. His case in point is his work with one of the tribes that was extremely difficult to get to – the Dinka, in South Sudan – probably the toughest and most dangerous assignment he’s ever undertaken. 

Not many people make contact with this remote cattle trading ethnic group, and the abundance of AK47 weapons they carry can be intimidating. He found out details of an upcoming massive cattle camp and knew that the scale of the event promised some truly incredible images. The Dinka people are the tallest in the world and in order to convey the ‘biblical’ proportions of the event, Yarrow knew he was going to have to shoot from a higher perspective. He managed to procure a ladder and then travelled for two days to get to the site, through crocodile infested rivers and along dirt roads. But when he arrived at the huge cattle camp and got up on the ladder in the middle of it all, he realised it was, in his words, epic.

Yarrow’s staggering black and white image, Mankind, portrays that epic quality to perfection and he admits in the interview that in many ways the experience changed his life. He says that what determines the importance of an image is the amount of time a viewer can spend looking at it, finding the stories within it. In Mankind he says there is so much going on, and that for him it was this image that really drove that ideal home to him, and solidified what his goal as a photographer should always be.



The second image Yarrow refers to in the video is one called Unity, which he shot in Germany at a football stadium. He finds crowds fascinating – particularly in terms of a collective of people reacting to an event simultaneously. He knew this particular stadium, which holds 26,000 people, was the ideal layout in which to shoot an encompassing image. 

The sound effects of the crowd at this point in the video add to the effect of viewing the atmospheric black and white image. He tells how the extreme depth of field was used to achieve the sharpness and detail in more than 11,000 people in the frame. “If you had a friend there, you’d be able to see them in the picture,” he says. The clarity of the image is astounding, right down to the millions of droplets of beer that hang in the air. For this he pays homage to the lens capability of Nikon equipment alongside his own skills. 

The video finishes with the artist quoting the racing great Mario Andretti, who said: “It’s the constancy in the commitment to the pursuit of excellence that will allow you to attain what you want to attain.”

Yarrow says he relates to the quote because he admits to a lot  of mistakes but he has the goal and the keenness to be as good as he can. He says while he’s tough on himself and always will be, he almost feels that as a responsibility. A fitting end to a fascinating snippet into this great man’s life and work. 

Think you’d enjoy learning from this inspirational Master photographer? A David Yarrow Photography Course will give you the chance to gain an authentic insight into the working life of a professional fine art and wildlife photographer. 


The David Yarrow Photography Course

Our acclaimed Masters of Photography courses are based on our partnerships with some of the world’s most legendary and successful photographers. The courses give you lifetime access to the lessons, so you can learn in your own time and at your own pace. They’re suitable for people of all skill levels and can be delivered to your device of choice. We also offer a full money back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied. 

Sign up to the David Yarrow photography course and you can choose from the Master Class, which covers 58 lessons over 7 hours with David, or the shorter Discovery Class, which takes in 10 key lessons from the Master Class, over one hour and 10 minutes. 

As well as covering technical and practical topics like studio set-ups, light, composition and much more, the lessons also afford a wonderful insight into the creative inspirations and practices of the Master.

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