Personal & professional musings
I moved to France from Japan in 2003, just in time to start getting access to photograph Airbus's latest project, the giant A380 double decker aircraft. On my first trip down to Toulouse to see the first plane under final assembly, Airbus PR folks picked me up at the local train station, drove me to an outer fence and pointed to the airplane in a hanger about 200 meters away with the hanger doors open. Needless to say, I wasn't happy and...more
Things I won't do again: ride my motorcycle into a small Japanese town right after a nuclear accident. Luckily the Geiger counter gave me a clean bill of health. Tokai-mura, Japan. 1999. On assignment for Newsweek Magazine.
I still think about the people I photographed over the two days I was in Tokai. The years of fear...more
Watch the first of two episodes I was featured in for Arirang TV, Korea's national TV network, in their "In Frame" series. The twelve-part series followed mainly Magnum photographers around the country and when I was asked to do two episodes I agreed on one condition, I could work in the southern port city of Busan where my wife was born and later adopted. I spent an amazing and exhausting week there just after the end of the summer tourist...more
After 25 years of working as a documentary photographer one skill I've learned is to enter a space to work quietly and effectively, making people I'm photographing comfortable with my presence. Skills that work really well when I get asked to create what I call "corporate documentary" images, photographs of real employees at work, created with minimal impact to the work day that allow companies to show their staff in the best and most natural...more
One of my favorite stories to work on over the years was on Yashiro Island, a tiny goldfish shaped island in Japan’s southern Seto Sea, south of Hiroshima. The island was one of the last places in Japan to get regular electricity in the 1970s, and the eastern half of the island, Towa district, has the distinction of being "Japan’s oldest town" with the highest average aged population in a nation...more
I often get asked what’s the hardest story I’ve ever had to photograph. In 2008, I traveled with New York Times correspondent Bill Yardley to Chewelah, Washington to interview Jeffrey Schrock, 39 at the time, and a devout Mennonite. Mr Schrock and his wife had lost all five of their children in a car accident when a truck driven by Clifford Helm crossed a median on U.S. 395 and drove into oncoming lanes, hitting the Shrock family's truck. Mr....more
A few years back The New York Times asked that I follow the cast and producers of HBO’s “Game of Thrones" around for a couple of days while they were on a tour to promote the new season of the show. Apparently I’m one of the few people who hadn’t seen it (and still haven’t, I don’t have cable!) so I knew little about the show and even less about the actors. This probably helped because unlike the thousands of screaming fans who showed up...more
The first time I saw Kyoto I didn’t realize I’d seen it. Staring out of the hermetically sealed windows of the Nozomi Super Express bullet train, there was no end to the miles of factories and sterile, cookie-cutter housing projects that sprawl from Tokyo to Osaka, via Kyoto. Occasionally I spotted a rice field or the roof tops of small Buddhist and Shinto temples. At nearly 200 mph they could just be glimpsed through the webs of power lines,...more
After spending a day earlier this summer photographing the interior of Amazon's new bio-Spheres here in Seattle I finally started shooting some exterior work for landscape architects Site Workshop. Working from dawn 'til dusk I tried to capture all the shifts in light and activity that happen around...more
I realize drones are all the rage these days but I’ll admit a serious prejudice against using them for aerial still photography. I call it the ‘big picture’, the ability to use a full resolution DSLR Nikon camera with high quality lenses that can cover both wide views and tighter views. Just try strapping that kind of gear to a drone!
I’m not totally against drones, they're great for video and low altitude work but if you want get high...more