Yirol, South Sudan 2015
The Dinka means “people’ in their own language and there are about 5 million of them in South Sudan. They have many salient characteristics – a deep sense of community, a obsession with their cattle and an average height 3 inches higher than the average for the human race. The men couple this height with great muscularity and physical strength. Each Dinka faction – and there are many- will fight and kill to protect their community and their cattle from outsiders – and they do this with guns not primitive weaponry.
In this vast cattle camp near Yirol, I stayed late one afternoon to watch the behaviour of the adult herdsmen and this particular man showed all the aforementioned characteristics – he was at least 6 foot 5 inches of muscle, he carried a gun and he watched attentively over his community below. The picture tells an accurate story of daily life, not a contrived one.
I understand why depiction of guns anywhere in an image can hint at news reportage or photojournalism rather than art, but on this occasion, I believe the gun offers quiet dignity and completes the photograph. It is because of that gun that there is serenity below, not in spite of it. Life in a cattle camp in a war torn country is made safer by the gun , not more dangerous.
I believe that this image conveys the deep pride of the Dinka. The proud nightwatchman has pride in his role and his responsibilities – and this lends an almost inconceivable romanticism to the work.
We got on well because he liked the pictures I had of British cows – which he found hilarious.. As always, its all about homework.
David Yarrow has built an unrivalled reputation for capturing the beauty of the planet’s remote landscapes, cultures and endangered animals. Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1966, he is now one of the world’s leading fine art photographers. At the Sotheby’s photography auction in London, May 2017, David’s iconic picture –Mankind –was sold for £60,000 –the highest price of the 100 lots on auction. He is represented by some of the world’s leading galleries and in America David has shown at the renowned Perot Museum in Dallas and his work is permanently on show at the new Museum of Natural History in Missouri. David’s images are among some of the most sought-after pieces of work within the industry. David has a global book deal with Rizzoli publishing house inNew York and produced a flagship book named ‘Wild Encounters’ featuring work from seven continents, capturing some of the earth’s most endangered species. He is honored that HRH the Duke of Cambridge wrote the foreword to the book which was released in October 2016 and all author royalties from the book will go to Tusk Trust. Amazon awarded it “The Best Art and Photography book of 2016”. Alongside Rizzoli, David launched the book in a series of events across the world in the last quarter of 2016, including exhibitions at Fotografiska in Stockholm, Leonhard’s Gallery in Antwerp, Holden Luntz in Palm Beach and at London’s Somerset House. In April 2017 at the annual Tusk Gala in NYC, David’s images raised $175,000 at auction, including two lots which sold for $50,000 each, very much cementing his status as one of the most coveted artists in his field.Read More