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The Quick and The Dead

The Quick and The Dead

Regular price $ 99,999.00
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Montana, USA - 2022

Large – 52” x 102” Unframed,
67” x 117” Framed – Edition of 12

Standard - 37” x 72” Unframed,
52” x 87” Framed - Edition of 12

In my experience, the most visually pleasing single street wild west towns in America are found in the states of California, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Montana. There are no real secrets here, which is why film studios tend to focus on five or six specific locations.

There is a skew in my work towards shooting in Montana for two reasons: firstly, I have a far more established network of contacts and friends in Western Montana than in the states further south who can all help me find extras or indeed sometimes jump onto set themselves; secondly our Montana locations are exposed to the highest snowfalls and I like to work in the snow, it simply adds another layer of narrative, especially in monochrome images.

This photograph, shot near the Crazy Mountain at the old Marlboro Ranch in Montana, incorporates the greatest number of extras I have had on set during a shoot
- about 120 all in. The logistics in the cold are challenging and then the execution of the idea requires precision as I want to see as many faces as possible and I want those faces to have a collective attitude. It seemed necessary to have women and children in the scene as if the whole town was watching the shoot out - this would not be a male dominated western vignette.

In order for the concept to have symmetry, I needed to incorporate the buildings on both sides of the street and this is where - at the margin - this location is the best I know because the street is narrow enough for a wide panoramic.

I always say to the cast ahead of workdays involving many people, that all it takes is one person to be looking the wrong way or behaving oddly for the photograph to be ruined. They are all being paid to focus and concentrate for no more than five minutes during the day, but those are a big five minutes. The cast that day from old to young were brilliant and that is why this photograph works.

There is a lot going on in this work - which is why I love seeing it in as large a format as possible.

~ David Yarrow

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