The Dragon's Den

David Yarrow

Other Wildlife

“We knew that filming on the island of Komodo, in Eastern Indonesia, would represent a challenge and we had always found an excuse to leave it in the idea shed, rather than get down and dirty on site.

There were two reasons for our concern: the first was that the island, for all its mythical and exotic allure, is easily accessible. It may look remote, and indeed it is, but every day in high season, 200 camera wielding visitors land on its beaches. There is no shortage of worthy pictures of the eponymous dragons of Komodo and I was reminded again that there are so many excellent and dedicated wildlife photographers across the world.

The second concern was more material. The dragons may or may not be the most Jurassic looking members of earth’s magical animal kingdom, but they are not necessarily loved for their soul and aesthetic beauty in the same way as perhaps a rhinoceros is. We are all aware of their existence, but they don’t elicit the same degree of affection as East African wildlife. An encounter is something to tick off the bucket list rather than historically treasure.

I think part of the reason for this is that the majority of the Komodos on the islands of Rinca and Komodo are not that big and can look like extremely oversized lizards. Without the size, their menace is lost, as well as their primeval magnificence. Dinosaurs were never meant to be small.

So, we arrived in Komodo with one goal – to film a big guy. We knew that we couldn’t get too close and that could also work against playing on the contextual narrative or sense of place.

The first impression of Komodo is its raw and untamed beauty. Spielberg could have chosen it as base camp for Jurassic Park were it not for the total lack of infrastructure. Lush craggy mountains rise vertically from the ocean floor a bit like the Tetons rise from the lakes of Wyoming and there is a sense of foreboding as if entering a villain’s lair. It is a visual feast.

It was a tough gig, and the strong sun is never a photographer’s friend. In the end, we had our one moment. A large and formidable Komodo, with all its intricate textural splendour, looked head on to my camera and in the background, a nod to one of the most special places on our planet. It was The Dragon’s Den.” – David Yarrow

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52 x 82 inches, Edition of 12
71 x 116 inches, Edition of 12

Signed and numbered by the artist

Archival Pigment Print, framed

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