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Photographer David Yarrow seeks 'emotional connection' at the Woody Creek Tavern

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David Yarrow
David Yarrow's Woody Creek Tavern photoshoot features supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio and a Hunter S. Thompson impersonator.

The Casterline|Goodman Gallery location on Cooper Avenue in Aspen features work from photographer David Yarrow this summer.

Countercultural icon Hunter S. Thompson serves as the muse for the series.

"David Yarrow is known for his scenes, his sets his use of light, his use of color, and he was typically a black-and-white photographer," said Robert Casterline, co-owner of the gallery. "So he was able to do things with with full-scale, large-format, black-and-white photography that nobody's ever done."

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David Yarrow
Models pose for David Yarrow's Woody Creek Tavern shoot in mid-March.

In mid-March, Yarrow came to the Aspen area with big-name talent — including supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio — for a shoot with the theme “Gonzo 1970s Vibe Meets 'Boogie Nights.'”

The final products are on display through mid-September. They're set at the Woody Creek Tavern, a favorite watering hole of Thompson.

"If you're a photographer, and you've only got a 250th of a second to tell a story, you must make sure that everything within that frame helps you in the story," Yarrow said. "So, the good thing about Woody Creek Tavern is it very much locates where you're filming. People go, 'That’s Aspen.' And that is important for a storyteller — which is, I guess, what I am?"

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Courtesy of David Yarrow
A behind-the-photo look at photographer David Yarrow seeking to create an emotional connection for viewers of his work. The location was the Woody Creek Tavern, which sits outside of Aspen.

"In order for a photograph to be seen to be art, ... it has to have a degree of novelty to it and authenticity. ... It has also to have the capacity to be looked at for a long time," he said. "And normally, the way that it does that is that it has to elicit a degree of emotion. That emotional connection doesn't have to necessarily be an earnest one — it just has to be something that holds the attention of the viewer."

With more than 11 million Instagram followers, Ambrosio — the focus of Yarrow’s Woody Creek photoshoot — definitely knows how to hold the attention of the viewer.

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David Yarrow
Casterline / Goodman Gallery
The title of this David Yarrow photograph is "Aspen, Baby."

The gallery’s Little Nell location features blue-chip artists this summer.

"'Blue chip' are artists that are well known," Casterline said. "They're in major museums. They have a recognized secondary market."

David Yarrow is still alive — unlike some of the blue-chip artists — making his work a good investment, in the eyes of Casterline.

"I try to buy artists that are still living," he said. "They're still making artwork. They're limiting the production because they're already in major museums and they're not looking to oversupply."

But, he said, there are nonfinancial considerations to which artworks he decides to buy.

"You have to like it," he said. "You have to live with it."

Yarrow's photographs will be on display at the Casterline|Goodman Gallery through mid-September.


Dominic joined the Edlis Neeson arts and culture desk at Aspen Public Radio in Jan. 2022.