In December last year, I worked with David Gregory, host of Meet the Press. He had just been appointed to the prestigious job. I found Mr. Gregory to be a very engaging fellow with high energy to bring to the show. The green room at NBC, where much news history has sprung from behind the scenes, was the location for our meeting. An indoor “studio shot” for Men’s Vogue was followed by an “on location” shot outside the Capitol Building. Sadly, I thought neither shot would be seen by the readers of the magazine because I was told, when I called Vogue in February, the last issue had come and gone. I thought that we just missed the cutoff! Sometimes the journey is worth more than the destination. There is now hope, however, because WWD reports that there will be two issues a year of Men’s Vogue.
Let’s hope the article about David Gregory, in the Life Studies section, makes it to press.
Meeting these two gentlemen is something I’d like to share with you.
Here is Mr. Gregory’s blog.
Part of the journey for me was the opportunity to work with Steve McCurry, the photographer of one of the most recognizable photos in recent history. Mr. McCurry shot the photo of the Afghan refugee girl in the 1980’s for National Geographic. Those “haunting eyes” somehow, amazingly found their way back to Steve’s lens. Time’s cruel nature is evident, in the second photo, that he was able to capture after the long road he took to find her. It seems as if fear was replaced by sadness and anger.
Photos by Steve McCurry. To visit his website go to www.stevemccurry.com
Mr. McCurry was so different than the photographers I have worked with, who come to Washington, D.C. to photograph the powerful people affecting our nation and the world. Platon, Seliger, Whitkin, Perry, and Riedel, who are all rock stars of photography and each with a unique way to engage their subjects, ranging from intellectual to sympathetic. McCurry, on the other hand, just waits. And he waits. He waits until the subject breaks down their barriers. The sheer essence of patience, calm, and little communication is his method of operation. Crazy! In fast-paced Washington, where most people communicate with two cellphones and have only 5 minutes ( tops ) to give to a photographer one wonders, how did this guy do it? It must be from all the years photographing people from the rough terrains of Afghanistan, Burma and Tibet. People’s faces are etched with experiences that cannot be photographed by appointment. One must wait for the picture to come to you. McCurry is there no matter how long it takes.
With the sun beginning to set and time running out for an outdoor shot, McCurry got his studio shots after waiting and waiting. Mr. Gregory exchanged conversation on set with the stylist , crew and myself. Later, we trucked down to the Capitol Building for the outdoor shot, as light snow flakes fell and the light grew dim. The Burberry Trench looked great on the tall reporter at the corner of East Capitol St.and 2nd. The photographer’s fingers didn’t freeze. The photo was taken. This time around, the most recognizable photo in recent history was replaced with potentially but hopefully not the least recognizable photo. I’d love to at least see what the camera’s lens captured. In my mind, however, observing the technique of McCurry became the journey that was more important than the destination. We will have to see if the “destination” is reached in the biannual Spring Issue, which could carry the photo and article. I’ll be sure to update you when and if it happens.
***As it turns out, the magazine was cancelled. On a brighter note, I did find Steve McCurry’s Blog and was excited to get a response from this legendary accomplished photographer. There is an interesting post about Portrait Photography and the cultural differences of how we present ourselves to society.
An excerpt of Steve’s response follows.
“You’re so sweet to comment about that shoot. I can remember standing on the step ladder in front of the Capitol Building. My fingers were so numb from the cold I could barely operate the camera. It was past the point of getting dark and I just had a small lousy flash to make the picture…It was great being on the set of Meet the Press. I regret not getting my picture taken in the seat opposite David.”