Like so many, I have long been drawn to gangster films - and the director Martin Scorsese is one of my great inspirations. Chicago is the home of the mobster and I was determined to capture the mood of the Al Capone and Prohibition era in a single frame. To my mind this demanded a location canvas that could substantiate the narrative. I homed in on the old Italian Neighborhood in Chicago where thousands of Italians used to live in the 1920s and 1930s. Around 24th street and Oakley, it was a tight knit community with roots in Tuscan towns such as Lucca.
On an intersection on 24th Street there is a well known Italian restaurant - Bruna's, that was around at the time of Al Capone. Bruna - an Italian lady - owned the joint for many years and allegedly had fatally knifed a couple of customers during her tenure. Her portrait still holds court in the dining area.
I visited on the premise of being hungry and I knew immediately there was potential. The current owner - Luciano from Siena - was willing to cooperate so long as some cash changed hands and he could be an extra in the image. Both requests seemed reasonable, besides historical precedent suggests that this was no place to ar- gue with the patrons.
The casting couch was entertaining as it was difficult to distinguish between those who were acting and those who were the real deal. I could only vouch for two of them - Luciano, on the far left of the photograph and Josie Canseco, who played her role brilliantly as she always does. The formation worked to the side of the bar - what a bunch.
After the shoot was wrapped, one of the mobsters - going by the name of Donny Greco - brought out his music box and we all sang Frank Sinatra and drank Italian white for an hour. My kinda town, Chicago is.
David Yarrow was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1966. He took up photography at an early age and as a 20 year old, he found himself working as a photographer for The London Times on the pitch at the World Cup Final in Mexico City. On that day, David took the famous picture of Diego Maradona holding the World Cup and as a result, he was subsequently asked to cover the Olympics and numerous other sporting events. But he refused to be pigeonholed and his interests expanded as he grew into himself. It was only many years later, that he found his true comfort zone in documenting the natural world and the last eight years have been career defining.
Yarrow's evocative and immersive photography of life on earth is most distinctive and it has earned him an ever growing following amongst art collectors. His large monochrome images made in Los Angeles are on display in many leading galleries and museums across Europe and North America and his work is also a regular feature at established art fairs. By the spring of 2017, he had firmly established himself as one of the bestselling fine art photographers in the world, with the limited edition prints (just 12 in an edition) regularly selling at over $40,000 a piece and his well-received recent work is now priced even higher.
At the Sotheby's photography auction in London in May - Yarrow's iconic image from South Sudan - Mankind - was sold for $75,000 - the highest of the 100 lots in the show. In April the following year David's image "The Wolf of Main Street" sold for $100,000 and was the highest bid for piece by a living photographer and most recently "78 Degrees North" went for an impressive $110,000.
In 2016, Rizzoli New York published his latest book - Wild Encounters - with a foreword written by HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William). The book was awarded "Art Book of 2017" by Amazon and has already sold out a second print run. All Yarrow's royalties from the book continue to be donated to Tusk, the leading British NGO, that focuses on animal conservation in Africa.
Philanthropy and conservation are indeed central to David Yarrow's passion to document the animal and human world in a fresh and creative way. In 2017, charitable donations from the sale of David's images exceeded $1.2 million, with four of David's pieces raising $186,000 in just a few minutes at the Tusk Gala dinner in New York City in April 2017.
In North America, he is represented by two leading photographic galleries in Holden Luntz in Palm Beach and Izzy in Toronto, as well as broader art galleries such as Samuel Lynne in Dallas and Miller in Cincinnati. In Europe, David has a very strong presence in the Baltic - with Oslo, Antwerp and Amsterdam all key venues. David's most recent partners Maddox have been extremely popular in both London and Gstaad.
Yarrow's position in the industry has been rewarded with a wide range of advisory and ambassadorial roles. In conservation, he is an ambassador for WildArk, on the advisory board of Tusk and Ambassador to the Kevin Richardson Foundation (). In 2017 Land Rover also appointed David as a global ambassador and creative partner. He is the European ambassador for Nikon and has recently been integral to the companies most anticipated Camera release of the last decade. In December 2017 he shot TAG Heuer's latest campaign with Cara Delevingne.
His status as an artist and conservationist was confirmed in June 2017 when he was invited for a private lunch with President George W. Bush in Dallas, Texas.
132.1 × 195.6, Edition of 12 + 3AP, Contact for price;
180.3 × 276.9, Edition of 12 + 3AP, Contact for price