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Dinokeng, South Africa - 2023

56” x 84” Unframed 71” x 99” Framed Edition of 12

37” x 56” Unframed 52” x 71” Framed Edition of 12

I want my animal portraits to glorify through proximity. It is that proximity that offers the texture and aesthetic strength and allows a close image to transcend one taken from a more sensible distance. At the margin, it makes all the difference to be close and not magnify too much.

The riddle of proximity is one with answers, it just requires experience and collaboration. I was protected from this lion by the strongest of steel cages, so whilst there was a gap for the camera, there was nothing like the necessary gap for a lion’s head.

These set ups should never be tried in normal situations as so many things can go wrong and this occasion was only enabled by the skills of Kevin Richardson -The Lion Whisperer. Without Kevin, there is no chance of a picture and every chance of some degree of danger.

I am not sure if this picture could have been taken 10 years ago for two reasons. Firstly, my relationship with Kevin was nascent and we now trust each other implicitly. Pictures like this require mutual trust. Secondly, cameras now have so much more capability than 10 years ago and we continue to leverage this to the full. It would be folly not to. ~ David Yarrow

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