Scottish fine-art and wildlife photographer David Yarrow got his prized shot this morning around 8 a.m. at Horseshoe Curve on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s route through the San Juan Mountains.
“I’m not shooting for the truth. I don’t want the truth. I want to be playful with the truth,” Yarrow said in an interview at the Diamond Belle Saloon, which has been his hub for the past week as he’s photographed Durango and locales around Southwest Colorado.
The black-and-white shot Yarrow prized from his Thursday morning shoot captures steam rising from the oncoming D&SNG locomotive blending into sunlit morning clouds, an ominous looking outlaw with a shotgun silhouetted against the sky is frame right, two horseback compatriots also armed with shotguns wait for the train’s approach frame left.
“I’m drawn to the West because it’s so character-rich. You can name them, the genres – cowboys, outlaws, Native Americans, guys with shovels and picks, capitalists, gamblers and drunks,” he said. “I’m not afraid to be prompted by filmmakers. The Coen brothers: Why do they like Westerns? Because they’re so character-rich.”
Yarrow will make 24 prints from each of the shots he likes for sale at galleries in Europe and the United States.
Yarrow said he sold $4 million worth of prints out of Aspen’s Casterline Goodman Gallery, and during his trip to Durango, he has agreed to be represented here by Sorrel Sky Gallery.
Shanan Campbell held a reception at her Sorrel Sky Gallery on Thursday for Yarrow and his crew of 40 people who have been assisting him this week.
Sorrel Sky will begin displaying prints from Yarrow in May, and a few prints may arrive at the gallery before then, Campbell said.
The plan is to have a show for Yarrow in May in time for the Gallery Walk, whether the event happens in-person or virtually, Campbell said.
“We might get a selection of images prior to May, but it’s highly likely our first big flash of work from him will specifically be from the Wild West series that he’s working on right now,” Campbell said.
Yarrow brings in models from all over the world for his photo shoots, and is noted for working with Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Alessandra Ambrosio and other top models.
Yarrow looked at Leadville, Telluride and Ouray for his latest Colorado photo shoot, but choose Durango, the attraction of the historic Strater Hotel, especially the Diamond Belle Saloon; the D&SNG; Silverton; and a nearby airport cementing his decision to shoot here.
“The weather here is incredible. People are walking around in T-shirts. Last week, I was in Yellowstone and it was 20 below,” he said. “We had girls coming from Russia, Brazil, Venezuela, Paris and America. So we needed someplace with an airport. That’s something that really helps Durango,” he said.
Yarrow shakes off recent controversy he has attracted with charges that he was feeding foxes in the Grand Teton National Park to get a photo.
“There are a lot of very jealous wildlife photographers. And we weren’t even there to photograph the foxes,” he said. “Everybody else there was, but all the foxes there, they’re all habituated (to people). The whole thing was totally butchered.”
Political controversy is frequently a consequence of wildlife photography, which is why Yarrow said he is leaving it behind to concentrate on his stylized fine-art work.
“I’d much rather be shooting Willie Nelson than animals anyway,” he said.
Strater Hotel owner Rod Barker, who has hosted Yarrow since his arrival Sunday in Durango, said he plans to add some of Yarrow’s photos to the inn’s collection.
“He has an eye that is just uncanny for being able to put together the right lighting, the timing, with, maybe 40 or 50 people all together, and he’s the one guy behind the camera to pull it all together,” Barker said.