Photographer David Yarrow got 'lucky' with iconic 1986 Maradona shot

The Glasgow-born snapper was just 20 when he captured one of the greatest moments in football history.

Renowned Scots photographer David Yarrow has recalled capturing one of the most famous moments in football history.

The snapper was 20 when he photographed Diego Maradona holding up the 1986 World Cup trophy after leading Argentina to victory against West Germany in Mexico City.

The iconic photograph, published in newspapers worldwide, helped forge his path in the industry with a career spanning fine art, wildlife and fashion.

He started out at the age of 15, photographing the Scotland team’s training sessions in Ayrshire ahead of the nation’s 3-1 victory over Spain in 1984.

David Yarrow said homecoming exhibition in Edinburgh ‘meant the most’ to him

Yarrow told STV News: “Like a lot of young Scottish boys in the 1980s, I wanted to be a footballer but I wasn’t very good, no chance of that. I wanted to be a golfer, I certainly wasn’t good at that.

“The next best thing was to try and photograph the people that work in it and maybe I could get free entry into the grounds.”

Still a student at Edinburgh University, Scotland fan Yarrow blagged the freelancing gig of a lifetime and was sent to cover the World Cup in Mexico in 1986.

The photographer got as close as he could to the Argentine captain as he was lifted on to another player’s shoulders.

“I got lucky,” he told STV News.

“I really didn’t take many good pictures at all. In fact I would say, going into the final, I hadn’t got one good picture that would ever be remembered.

Yarrow has captured some of the world’s most endangered species

“Then I got the picture of Maradona in the final, which is probably still one of my most famous photographs.

“I knew I couldn’t go back from there.”

Riding high on his big break, Yarrow was sent to the Olympics and the US Masters before pursuing a career in finance, eventually launching his own hedge fund in 1995.

But the tycoon returned to photography full-time in the mid-2000s and hasn’t looked back since.

His bestselling work has involved bringing cinematic images to life, inspired by stories from the Wild West to the Pirates of the Caribbean, with the leading roles portrayed by some of the biggest names in Hollywood, the modelling world, and professional sports.

Yarrow has also journeyed to some of the most remote parts of the world to capture endangered species and indigenous communities.

He said: “Over the last 20 years it has been my passion, drive and job. I’m very lucky my job is my passion.

“It is incredibly gratifying and humbling. I sometimes have to pinch myself that people are putting my work on their walls.

Model Cara Delevingne captured in front of a lion in South Africa.

“I don’t think so much about what I’ve done over the last 30 years – what matters more is what is next and striving to get better. Tomorrow is always more important than yesterday.”

Having staged his homecoming exhibition at Edinburgh’s Watson Gallery, he said exhibiting his work in his home country means more to him than anywhere else.

He added: “The Scottish arts is one thing that, around the world, we punch above our weight.

“I play a very small role in that and I look around at my peers – and one area where I think Scotland can be so proud is in the creative art scene.

“I’m a very proud Scot.”

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