Emma, Dinokeng, South Africa

Archival Pigment Photograph

Signed, dated, and numbered from edition of 12 on recto. Signed, titled, dated, and editioned on certificate of authenticity.

It is integral to my approach to photography to see focus as the variable that can never be compromised. This probably hints at my beginnings as a sports photographer. The shorter the distance between subject and camera, the more skill and precision is required. Think of cows close to a train window as against cows in the distance.


There is no room for error at all in the taking of the image – especially when using a lens like a 20mm – if the focus is an inch behind or ahead of the subject’s eye, the image will lose its “wow factor”. I won’t print it. Even with a reasonable motor drive, this is a low percentage approach.


I miss most often by being early but also sometimes by being marginally late. However, when it works, the results can be sensational. This image of Emma – a lioness within Kevin Richardson’s sanctuary – speaks for itself. I don’t need to comment on the detail in her face – it’s there for all to see.


There is more information in this portrait then any other lioness shot I have taken in my life. It is as simple as that. I think the big print is about life size and it is immensely powerful. What a magnificent cat and not a bad image as well. – David Yarrow