David Yarrow / Galleria Paola Colombari
Scozia / Scotland
132 cm x 190 cm
n° Limited Edition 12 esemplari
Courtesy Galleria Paola Colombari
Amboseli, Kenya 2015
Most images of migrating wildebeest are hackneyed and offer little to excite. The river crossings during the summer months have been endlessly documented by scores of tourists who gather along the riverbanks with their telephoto lenses and shoot away on their motor drives from the first leap to the last. There is no serenity in the content here and no originality in its photographic execution.
In my mind, the scores of crossing images in stock libraries have two specific aesthetic drawbacks: firstly they tend to be taken when the sun is quite high – never the best lighting conditions and secondly, the chaos that unfolds in the crossing can make the wildebeest appear ungainly, generic and rather marginal. They are not animals that tend to elicit huge emotion and I think part of the reason for this, is that they are so often photographed at these well established river crossings where their behaviour But images such as the image above, misrepresent the spectacle of what was unfolding in the sky above, because on this occasion I was working with the late evening light that was bursting out from time to time, rather than against it. The big sky needed to be the picture, not excused from the picture. There was only about 20 minutes of light left and I needed to capture the mood of what appeared to be an impending apocalypse.The best plan was to leave the protection of the vehicle and lie flat on the ground shooting directly into any shafts of evening light. Of course, I needed foreground context as well as the sky – but this was largely in the hands of fate. The image above has a great deal going for it – in particular, the lone zebra having a good old roll around in the foreground. There is a palpable sense of place to this photograph.