The very first Earth Day was a teach-in launched 45 years ago to force urgent environmental crises to the top of the US national agenda. Not only did it catalyze critically important environmental legislation in the United States, it also sparked an international movement to tackle the thorniest problems facing our planet, from deforestation and climate change to threatened wildlife and toxic waste.
What better way to mark Earth Day and to re-energize our commitment to this beautiful planet than to gaze upon some of her most magical, stunning creatures, as captured by renowned wildlife photographer David Yarrow?
Yarrow: “There are many parts to the image that contribute to its strength–such as the dust that the lion has kicked up or the late afternoon light on the water reeds. But most of all, it is the lion in full flight that is magnificent.”
Yarrow: “I wanted to photograph a mountain gorilla head-on with straight eye-to-eye contact, as I suspected that a studied portrait could carry more emotion than an action shot. I just wish he did not hold me in such magnificent contempt.”
Yarrow: “The hippopotamus is an extremely dangerous animal – they kill 3,000 people a year in Africa. This is as close as I ever want to come to a protective adult, particularly when I am in the water. This picture was taken just 20 minutes before I had to leave the Zambezi to find my way home. The previous few days had yielded nothing.”
Yarrow: “To get this shot I needed to get very close to the elephant and to be looking up at it from the ground, with Kilimanjaro in the background. The trick was to position ourselves ahead of an approaching herd and crawl under the jeep to protect ourselves from any elephant that felt threatened.”
Yarrow: “There are only about 1,700 Royal Bengal tigers left in India – a frightening decline from the estimated 100,000 during the Raj. Therefore, to find a father and son bathing in the same pool in the jungle was statistically unlikely. I like the lone eye to the right – even though it’s outside the focal plane, it grabs our attention.”
Yarrow: “This photograph tells a simple story: a mother’s innate instinct to protect her youngster which in itself hints at my presence. This picture works well in monochrome because it compresses the distraction of the jungle and allows the eye to focus on the maternalism at play.”
Find more of David Yarrow’s work on his official website.