It turns out there are two significantly different sides to this tiger tale. In an interesting post, Anthony Barchock, the fixer on the shoot and the person shown in the now nationally famous video, has another perspective that was published on fstoppers.com.
“First and foremost the Tiger is OK, unharmed and was never loose. There was always a trainer on the lead even in the videos where it doesn’t seem like it. The power tools were used as a foreign noise to hopefully coax the tired and hot animal down the stairs.”
The detail that there was a lead on the tiger the entire time is interesting and contradictory to what police told Fox 2 Detroit. That detail, if known when the video was put out, would of made it a lot less viral.
In case you did not know, Bachock is a “fixer” is a local who arranges locations, meetings, provisions, for people doing projects who are from out of town. He was contacted by Yarrow, to be his fixer for his Detroit shoot via an article on Fstoppers.com.
“…From the get go is was not smooth or easy. I tried talking him into flying in beforehand so we could sit down and/or scout locations but that was pushed aside. I was giving him locations, sending photos, maps, ideas, etc. He did listen to suggestions and was open to ideas and only committed to two locations for certain but still had no schedule or shoot list.”
He goes on to say that he explained to the trainers and photographer in an email that the weather in mid-August could be hot and humid in an email before he arrived.
“But there was no concern or even a reply to that email. I even brought it up again in the pre shoot dinner but again no concern showed by the training team that the tiger could handle the weather and trek up the stairs. Well this was not the case and why he was laying down in the landing of the stair case. He was tired and frustrated.”
They needed to motivate the tiger out of the staircase, which is what led to the weed whip getting involved. The Yarrow camp at first wanted Barchock to find a leaf blower to do the trick.
“…I’m in the middle of three and a half million square feet of concrete and ruins, where am I going to get that? So I texted Kari, who I have lost as a friend and contact now, who I assumed knew of the events taking place. Well she did not, David’s assistant did not tell the Packard of the animal(s) onsite. His assistant’s excuse, “they didn’t ask”. Kari talked with them and agreed to let them finish then go. The tiger is still stuck and the ‘gang’ David hired as extras was getting restless.
I called my friend Andy, the gent who took the videos, and he brought over the only thing he had a weed whacker with a couple attachments. Per the trainers instructions (who was just to my left on the down stairs) we tried to ‘spook’ the tiger so he would move. The weed wacker had no string and we got nowhere near the animal with the trimmer.”
Barchock wanted to make clear in his statement that he is an animal enthusiast, and did not necessarily agree with the situation he had to deal with.
“The worse part of it is me on film looking like I am attacking a tiger with yard implements and the reports that are half-truths or no truth at all; and for some one that works with rescue animal groups it is horrifying.”
David Yarrow also allegedly stiffed him for his work.
“Even after multiple attempts while in town he made no effort to arrange a contract, payment or other means to compensate me, kept putting off physical meetings as well as his assistant who followed the same tactic.”
There’s additional commentary with some wise words about how to handle Detroit from Matt LeVere.
“I guess the art scene would be new to anyone that doesn’t live here and all they hear about Detroit is abandoned buildings, our sports teams, and Kid Rock or Eminem. What local Detroiter’s don’t like is when people make us the punch line for a cheap joke. Our background is very blue collar and Detroiter’s have a lot of loyalty and pride. Outsiders need to understand there still are people who live in the city and work relentlessly to make their rent and make a living. In the end Detroit can be a welcoming city for anyone to come visit and realize it’s historical significance and the beauty it offers.
When you come visit any city, connect with locals to make your life easier and trust their knowledge and abilities to ensure everyone’s safety. It will make you look amazing and professional to your clients!”
Head on over to Fstoppers.com to read the full post with more commentary about how to deal with Detroit. It definitely sheds a different light on the situation.