Whether you find it or create it, a photographers’ mission is to come back with the picture. That was one of the fundamental principles drummed into my head as young photojournalist and it has served me well in my career. There’s nothing like a little pressure when the client needs a scenic cover shot with a tight deadline.
I had done the covers for the Glastonbury and West Hartford Books and the publisher, Distinctive Directories asked me to come up with a cover for the Farmington Valley Book. I welcomed the challenge, but nature had different ideas. Right after I got the assignment, the freak October storm destroyed all my scenic possibilities for several weeks while the massive restoration and clean up was under way.
Because snow on the ground would ruin the scenics by making it too seasonal, I kept a weary eye on the weather and grabbed the first decent sunny day to get the job done. The client had given me a suggestion for the cover, but it got demolished by the storm and I had to come up with another idea, different from previous covers – and fast. Driving around in Simsbury late in the afternoon I caught a quick glimpse of an old rusting tractor slowly sinking into a field, and a light bulb went on – I had found my Muse.
A nearby farm stand had placed some pumpkins on top of it as a nice touch, and I was not about to disturb the scene. An unwanted creeping shadow from a nearby tree was starting to move across the tractor and had already split it in two. It was going to further ruin the shot very soon. I had to act fast and shoot as many variations as possible.
I liked the idea of seeing the new house in the background juxtaposed with the old tractor now serving as a relic of the changing landscapes in suburbia as farmlands disappear. Mission accomplished, I got my cover.