While the rest of us faced months of lockdown and travel all but came to a halt, one of the world’s most famous wildlife photographers took this as an opportunity to capture African animals like never before.
David Yarrow has spent his 2020 in deserted wildlife parks, capturing the annual wildebeest migration, lions in the fields of the Serengeti and going eye-to-eye with a hippo on a Tanzanian riverbank.
The result is his new collection, ‘After Man’, which captures wildlife without the intrusion of the usual safari tourists.
“During most summers, the Serengeti in Tanzania is defined by the traffic and some of the serenity of these endless plains can be lost. It is considered the crown jewel of the East African game reserves and – in my view – deservedly so. But that status comes with a price – tourists and jeeps – hundreds of them,” Yarrow says in a statement.
“But not so during the Covid 19 pandemic of 2020. We took one of the first international flights in and unsurprisingly found virtually no one to be here. The swab testing logistics may be a little tiresome, but the light footprint is offering unprecedented opportunities to work alone in the field. In the vastness of the Eastern Serengeti, there are currently few humans and a huge number of lions. For those that are here, conditions for film making are perfect.”
He describes how photography traffic numbers are down by 90 per cent, making it easier to capture iconic moments like the annual migration. “The river crossings in normal years attract huge numbers of jeeps laden with cameras and a rather undignified dash for pole position accompanies the start of each crossing. I have not enjoyed these experiences over the years as I find it something of a chaotic scrum,” Yarrow recalls.
“The quiet serenity of the Serengeti is interrupted by the noise of 500 camera motor drives each being operated with the finger pressed firmly down on the shutter release. It’s akin to the paparazzi greeting a celebrity exiting a night club. But it’s all rather different in 2020 as traffic numbers are down 90 per cent and there is room to be on your own and avoid others.”
You can view a selection of images in the gallery above and find out more here, davidyarrow.photography