A few years ago I had the good fortune to meet and photograph southwestern author J.P.S. Brown for Cowboys & Indians magazine.
I spent an entire day with him and made a half dozen photographs of him. Some of which were to give the magazine enough material for a few editorial pages and some of which we to try and improve on the scenarios I’d already shot. Though 80 years old J.P. was friendly, spry and agreeable and seemed to be fine with whatever I came up with and so the day went. I photographed him by his barn with giant pile of logs he had chopped the the day before, I photographed him in a corral, I photographed him with his horse in field, I photographed him with his historic spurs and finally I photographed him in his office bedroom where he writes surrounded by all of his and other author’s books.
That image was my absolute favorite from that day and to me it seemed to be the quintessential portrait of the man. I felt I had walked away from the the shoot having taken one of the better photographs of the noted author.
Last month I got a call from Kerry Prugh, an art director at Notre Dame Magazine asking me if I could go a make some portraits of J.P. It seems he’s an alumni of Notre Dame, class of 1952 and they were doing a feature article on him.
I explained to Kerry that I had a number of very fine photographs of J.P. and since I was familiar with his home and ranch and its photographic opportunities I was pretty sure I’d run out of ideas but I was happy to go back and give it a try.
Well the moment I stepped out of the car J.P. recognized me and said you got 20 minutes and I’m not leaving the house. I guess I had worn him out during our previous photography session on behalf of Cowboys & Indians and he wasn’t inclined to spent another whole day being photographed by me or anyone else for that matter. I was able to charmed him into 30 minutes and I quickly set up a white seamless background in carport adjacent to his ranch house.
One of those images was used on the table of contents but I knew that none of the images I made that morning on the white background summed up J.P. better then this one I had made in his office a few years ago and I was happy that Kerry agreed.