David Yarrow on Art, Markets, Business, and Combining It All (#443)

David Yarrow

“I must never again put myself in a position where my work ethic can be undone by things totally beyond my control.”  — David Yarrow

In his genre, David Yarrow (@davidyarrow) is one of the world’s best-selling fine art photographers. Most recently, he has focused on capturing the animal and human worlds in fresh and creative ways, with philanthropy and conservation central to this drive. In 2019, charitable donations from the sale of David’s images exceeded $2.5 million.

David’s photography of life on earth has earned him a large and ever-growing following among art collectors, and he is now represented by some of the top contemporary fine art galleries around the world. In the last two years, three of Yarrow’s works have sold for more than $100,000 at Sotheby’s auctions in London and New York, and UBS has appointed David as its global ambassador.

In this conversation, we’ll talk about his photography but also touch on how his double life as a hedge fund manager informed his art.

You can buy David’s #1 best-selling book with a $50 discount and a one-year free subscription to his new quarterly photographic journal at davidyarrow.photography/Tim

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

Brought to you by Honey, Thrive Market, and LegalZoom.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear an episode with another photographer who approached art from the world of finance? — Listen to my conversation with Humans of New York’s very own Brandon Stanton in which we discuss biographies as history, a history major’s philosophical take on the stock market, obsession, striving for improvement, and much more. 


  • Connect with David Yarrow:

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook 


  • Why is it smart to only publish heavy books in Scotland, and what happened to David in Mexico in 1986? [06:05]
  • How did David’s lucky experience of shooting what turned out to be an iconic photo of Argentine football demigod Diego Maradona set him on a path of self-improvement, and where did he go from there? [19:41]
  • What David took away from shooting the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. [23:12]
  • Keeping an uncertain eye to the future with nary an artistic role model in his field of vision, what made David decide to accept a job that delighted his parents? [26:28]
  • David talks about his relationship with his father and a conversation they had that he’ll never forget. [30:11]
  • What did David learn in banking that informed his later exploration of photography? [33:23]
  • Where was David on 9/11, and how did its aftermath affect his life over the months that followed? [37:38]
  • How did the downfall of Bernie Madoff lead to David’s own exit from the glamorous world of finance? [46:06]
  • The difference between selling hedge funds and pictures of elephants. [49:08]
  • As someone who once made a living speculating, what did David foresee for the world in the months to come when we recorded this back in March of 2020 — just as COVID-19 was beginning to be taken seriously in the US? [52:18]
  • Thoughts on Paul Tudor Jones’ observations and predictions about the market at this point in time, and why David is relieved he’s not handling other people’s investments right now. [1:01:56]
  • On the connection between Steven Spielberg, a breaching South African great white shark that almost made David give up photography as a career, and a Texan attorney who made it worth his while. [1:08:026]
  • David used to sell photos in the London Underground for £20, and his claim to fame was the time he got spat on by John McEnroe at Wimbledon. [1:19:55]
  • How professional photography is more collegiate and cooperative than a zero-sum game that others need to fail in order for you to succeed (and vice versa). [1:22:09]
  • What does David mean when he says he’s using “the wholesale market” to sell his art? What are the terms, benefits, and costs that can be expected? [1:26:57]
  • How did Dallas come to be David’s “number two” market? What challenges exist in some markets that make others more viable to an artist like David? [1:29:08]
  • How did David come to be represented by a gatekeeper who had rejected him five times before, and what can you learn in a resort town? [1:37:45]
  • Is Palm Beach an important market for revenue to David, or is it important symbolically? What about the rest of the US? [1:43:06]
  • FIGJAM versus third-party affirmation. [1:46:43]
  • Why David believes Breaking Bad should be studied by visual artists as well as economics/business students. [1:50:43]
  • On the value of being tougher on yourself. [1:52:38]
  • What is David’s fascination with the Netflix business model, Montana, and ghost towns? [1:56:07]
  • David is known for collaborating with others — often celebrities. How did he land his first celebrity collaboration, and what has his experience been like working with celebrities since? [2:06:15]
  • Parting thoughts. [2:17:31]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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