The New York Times Magazine
Design Director: Gail Bichler
Director of Photography: Kathy Ryan
Art Director: Matt Willey
Deputy Art Director: Jason Sfetko
Designers: Frank Augugliaro, Ben Grandgenett, Chloe Scheffe
Associate Photo Editors: Stacey Baker, Amy Kellner, Christine Walsh
Photographer: Christopher Anderson
Heidi: Arguably one of the most stunning covers of the year, what set this particular portrait session apart for you?
Christopher: Well, there is always a different dynamic when the subject is so aware of what is happening in a portrait session. Celebrities are aware of their image, but Chuck is very aware of what you’re doing while making that image.
What type of direction did you get from the magazine and was that amazing composition part of the plan all along?
There wasn’t so much direction other than some of the basics we needed to cover such as room for type etc. I have a long working relationship with the magazine, so I understand a bit about what their expectations are. Mostly we both knew that we wanted something that felt very intimate
When you shot that image, did you know right away, this is the one? or are there other jewels we didn’t get to see?
There are several images that I like from the shoot, but I knew this is the one I was looking for. There is a slightly different version that I like better purely as a photograph but I understand why this particular one is a better cover. You can see the other one on my instagram and the opener they used was a different image than the cover.
Were you aware of the subtle type treatment for the cover line going into this project?
No, that came about after the fact. Designer Matt Willey is fantastic
How long did the session take? and in a word, describe the vibe.
I photographed him on a couple of different occasions for this piece, but this sitting was specifically for the portrait. I don’t really remember how long it was, it was a relaxed Sunday afternoon. We did other things like drink coffee and make pictures of his kids and grandchildren. He was under the weather with a cold, so he got a little tired at some point. We took a break to have a coffee and I even think he went to lunch, if I remember correctly.
What did you learn about yourself while shooting this project?
I think when I make a picture that I really like it helps me to better understand what it is I am seeing, what kind of image I make. It is a process.
What type of conversation was happening on set between you two? Did you direct him at all?
We talked about a lot of things, but when we were shooting, we weren’t talking much. I was directing him, but this particular frame, he broke from my direction to look up at me. That spontaneity made the image.
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