148 - David Yarrow
Play • 1 hr 29 min

David Yarrow was born in 1966 into the Scottish Yarrow shipbuilding dynasty - founded in 1865 by his grandfather, Sir Alfred Yarrow, who had come from humble origins in East London.  

David took up photography at an early age and as a 20-year-old university undergraduate found himself working as a photographer for The Times on the pitch at the 1986 World Cup Final in Mexico City. On that day, David took the famous picture of Diego Maradona holding the trophy and as a result was subsequently asked to cover the 1988 Winter Olympics, among other events. 

On his return, David was met with two job offers at the same salary. One was from Getty Images and the other from Nat West bank. To the enormous surprise of the people at Getty, but to the profound delight of his parents, he chose the latter, which led to a successful and lucrative finance career on Wall Street and ultimately building a billion dollar hedge fund. It wasn’t until the mid 2000s, in the aftermath of divorce and the financial crash that David returned to photography.

David’s distinctive and immersive black and white images of life on earth have earned him an ever growing following amongst art collectors. His huge works, produced in Los Angeles, are on display in leading galleries and museums across Europe and North America and he is now recognised as one of the best selling fine art photographers in the world with limited edition prints regularly selling for tens of thousands of pounds at auction.

In September 2019, Rizzoli published David’s second book with foreword was written by global NFL star Tom Brady and an afterword written by American cultural icon Cindy Crawford. All royalties from this book will be donated to conservation charities Tusk, in the UK and WildAid, in the US.

David’s position in the industry has been rewarded with a wide range of advisory and ambassadorial roles and in the spring of 2020, David was appointed a Global Ambassador for Best Buddies – one of America’s most established children’s charities.

In 2018 and 2019 David’s work raised over $4.5m for philanthropic and conservation organisations. At Art Miami in December 2019, his photograph The Wolves of Wall Street broke new records. One print, signed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, featuring the real Wolf of Wall Street – Jordan Belfort – sold for $200,000. The proceeds went to conservation NGOs supported by DiCaprio.

At the start of 2020, David was in Australia documenting the devastating bush fires that have destroyed communities, wildlife and wildlands. Using the striking and poignant images that he captured of the effects of the fire, Yarrow launched the Koala Comeback Campaign to support the recovery efforts in Australia. As of early June, the campaign has raised $1.4m. In April, during the Covid-19 pandemic, David joined the Art For Heroes campaign, to raise money for the NHS. He released a print – Our Pride – with all proceeds going to HEROES. For every print purchased, David donated an Our Pride print to an NHS worker. The campaign has surpassed its original target of £1m.


On episode 148, David discusses, among other things:

  • Working through the Covid crisis.
  • Monetization and the moment ‘the penny dropped’ with a picture of a shark.
  • Lessons learned from Breaking Bad.
  • Avoiding ‘vertical integration’ and the need for FIGJAM.
  • Why it’s important to keep edition sizes small.
  • Lessons learned from his mum (a sculptor).
  • America by definition being a country of entrepreneurs.
  • The twin filters of authenticity and commerciality.
  • The Catch-22 of getting gallery representation.
  • How his lowest point resulted in the picture that changed everything, with the help of two ladders.
  • When you know you have a good image.
  • How the idea of bringing animals and people together in the same frame came by accident.
  • Being exhausted by some areas of ‘wokery’.




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“In 2021, whatever you do, if you’re a creative in particular, I don’t think you’re excused from being a business person.”



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