Into the Great Wide Open with Matthew Yarnell

  • by Jenny Bahn


Whether high above the urban sprawl of Dallas, Texas or scouring the south’s more rural landscapes, 19-year-old photographer Matthew Yarnell’s work is an even blend of crumbling interiors and flat horizons. It’s a view into the country’s fourth largest metropolis, surrounded by long stretches of famously flat land. Not one to stay put, Yarnell has traveled around the world—from London to Joshua Tree—shooting the respective people and architecture of each place with what one might describe as an observational sense of calm.

ISAORA chats with the photographer about keeping an outside perspective, Texas sunsets, and sneaking into abandoned silos.

Where are you from originally?

Well, I was born in North Carolina, but I moved within my first year to Oxford, England. That’s where I had my childhood and that’s where I say I’m from.

What was it like growing up there?

Growing up in a different country gives me a different view on America, and I’m glad I have that background. Life was simple for me during that time. We didn’t have any type of television or electronics, just my brother and my parents. One of the best parts was when we took weekend trips to Scotland and Wales. During that time I really didn’t know what I had, but it changed how I think and how I appreciate the quiet moments for sure.

Where’s home now?

I live in DFW. It’s the urban area surrounding Dallas, TX.

Describe your city in three words:

Young, diverse, and evolving.

Favorite time of day to shoot:

Sunset. There’s nothing better than when that golden light breaks through the clouds for a few minutes right before dusk. That’s the light I have dreams about at night.

Best place to shoot in the city:

Well, I have two: Downtown Dallas and the abandoned silos in Fort Worth. When I go out exploring, I try to see new parts of the city that I haven’t seen yet. There’s nothing better than climbing ladders straight up to the top of a 25-story silo or opening that door onto a new rooftop. Getting away from everything trying to catch your attention and sitting on top of the city you love is one of the most cathartic things in the world. That’s why I do it. 

Are there any places in the world you haven't traveled to yet but would like to?

NYC, Hong Kong, and Iceland. I could spend years in NYC shooting the architecture and the people. There’s just so much there. The same goes for Hong Kong, but HK has a culture I haven’t experienced yet. I want to see the city of course, but the way the people live life, work, and think intrigues me. Iceland just looks ridiculous. It has one of the craziest mixes of landscapes I’ve seen.

Photos courtesy of @_02 via Instagram.


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