A guy could really get used to this whole book cover portrait thing. It’s exciting to see your work in full bleed on the cover of a book. No “10 Secrets to Sexy Abs” or “How to Keep The Doughnuts and Loose The Weight” tips plastered all over the cover. This is my most recent book cover photo, and as you can see, the subject is John Perkins. I have already written about John on my blog (here), and I have now had the opportunity to work with him on multiple occasions. Love Is The Final Fight does not come out until August 2010, but the marketing is getting under way now. John is a great man with an amazing story, and although I have not read this book yet, I would recommend it solely based on what I know about John.
I hope 2010 is starting out with a bang for everyone!
I am pleased to announce I was hired by Harper Collins to photograph Sarah Palin for the cover of her new book “Going Rogue“. If you watched even just a few minutes of TV this week, or used the Internet, I am sure you have already seen the book cover. “Going Rogue” has not even been printed, and it is already the #1 best seller. It still feels a little surreal to me that my portrait of Sarah Palin is on the cover of her book. Just about every television network in the country has been airing the book cover and analyzing what it means. Why the clouds, why the smile… My favorite reference so far was on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, but only because he mentioned me… kind of. He talked about the portrait of her on the book cover, and then quoted “the photographer”. It was a fake quote of course, and he didn’t actually say my name, but that is pretty close to being on The Tonight Show… (Here) is a link to the video. It’s in the first 3 minutes of the episode.
The photo shoot only happened three weeks ago, so this is all still very new and exciting for me. After much planning and scheduling, I put together a crew and flew up to Alaska for six days to photograph the former governor. It was supposed to rain the entire week we were there, but we ended up getting blue skies and puffy white clouds the entire time. After a few days of scouting and prepping, I shot for three days straight. The last day we went to Hatcher Pass which holds a lot of meaning for Governor Palin. I had already scouted the pass a few different times, and I knew exactly where we were going to shoot. Every last detail was in place. After shooting at the base of the pass near a river, we caravaned up to the top of the pass where we were planning to shoot the final location. Half way up, I noticed the beautiful light that was sweeping across the valley, and the clouds that were developing on the horizon. I told the driver to stop, we had to change our plans. This last minute change ended up being the final setup we would do with her, and it also ended up being the cover image.
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on this project. It is not very often that an assignment comes along to photograph one of the most polarizing figures in our country. Let alone the chance to photograph that person for her book cover. I would like to thank Harper Collins and Sarah Palin for working with me. This was a really big opportunity for me professionally, and I enjoyed it immensely. I am excited to see what happens next.
Mina san konnichiwa. Hot off the press, my portrait of Dr. John Medina was printed on the cover of the Japanese edition of Brain Rules.
“In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule—what scientists know for sure about how our brains work—and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives.”
I photographed Dr. Medina’s author portrait and press pictures last year, just before the book was first released in the States. Since then, the pictures have been published in Harvard Business Review, Seattle Metropolitan, and Response, to name a few.
When I got the assignment, my mind started racing with ideas and concepts that I could use for a brain scientist. I had heard that John is a passionate and expressive person, but nothing prepared me for the amount of energy and intensity that John generates. The slide show should give you a pretty good idea of what the shoot was like. John sang a song, made up a science rap, and charged at me during the shoot. Oh, and ate a plastic brain. What more could a photographer ask for!? One of my favorite images was an outtake that we shot at the end. I had the idea of using a brain like that old light bulb hovering over a persons head when an idea goes off. It was difficult to keep the brain from moving (I used string) but we eventually got it in place, and that ended up being the picture that was printed on the book jacket for the author portrait.
There is a ton of online content about Brain Rules if you are interested in finding out more. I highly recommend reading the book, as well. The English version that is…unless you can read Japanese. It is written in a way that anyone can understand, and everything in the book is practical information that can be used in your daily life.