David Yarrow: The Untouchables at Maddox Gallery, Notting Hill

Animals need a voice and David Yarrow speaks loud and clear in the form of his beautiful photography exhibition, ‘The Untouchables’, at the brand new Maddox Gallery in Notting Hill.

This new Maddox Gallery space is beyond stunning, with a monochromatic theme inside and out. A twist of flowers surrounds the outside of the building, while the interior provides a neutral backdrop to the art on show with slight homely touches such as plush armchairs from which visitors can take it all in.

Yarrow’s series of photos display magnificent images of some of the most powerful animals that walk the Earth, while also touching on the dangers these beautiful creatures face. The exhibition is thus as educational as it is spectacularly beautiful.

‘The Siberians’ shows six incredible Siberian tigers, lounging in the snow. There are less than forty wild Siberian tigers left in China. However, there are conservation centres where the tigers are protected and breeding programmes have been successfully introduced. If it were not for these centres, the tigers would be extinct. Yarrow’s photograph gives the viewer rare insight into the natural setting of these magnificent beasts, their home.

‘The Wolf of Main Street II’ does not show the wolf in its natural habitat, however. It draws the viewer in by the incredibly powerful presence, the sheer beauty of the creature and the incongruity of its surroundings. The wolf is shown walking along a bar, like a catwalk, while everything around it continues as though a wolf in a bar is the most normal thing in the world. One of the most noticeable things in this picture is the wolf’s striking, piercing eyes. Their intense soul-searching stare reaches out from the photograph, holding the viewer in a hypnotic trance.

Displayed on the outside of the building, ‘Hello’ takes centre stage. The image shows a polar bear, on a completely white background, with its nose almost touching the camera lens.
Yarrow states that after he took the image, one of his team members pointed out,

“David, look at the eyes - you are in them!” Sure enough, on closer inspection Yarrow saw his reflection in the giant’s eyes. This closeness shows a beautiful and unique relationship between man and one of man’s most fierce hunters, proving that it is possible for humans and animals to coincide.

However, coinciding with animals relies heavily on trust, which is exactly what the images ‘Trust’ and, ‘Girls on Film’ show. These photos depict an enchanting relationship between a woman and a cheetah. In ‘Trust’ the woman crouches nude, symbolising freedom, trust and vulnerability, while the cheetah presses her head against her forehead. In ‘Girls on Film’ the woman walks nude along the sand dunes while the cheetah follows her, not knowing where she is going, but trusting her to lead her safely. This beautiful relationship between the two females was formed over many days of interactions and building trust between the pair, creating a rare and magical bond.

The incredible lengths (and sometimes dangers), David Yarrow goes to capture these images only furthers proves that he is incredible at what he does, and his dedication to capturing and sharing the most stunning images of wildlife from around the world is unsurpassed.

‘The Untouchables’ is an extraordinary exhibition from start to finish. Every photograph is breathtaking, with its own touching story, leaving the viewer feeling more connected to each picture, wanting to know more about the exceptional, private lives of these animals.