11 Apr Rhinebeck, New York Editorial Portrait | Cary Fowler
When I got the portrait assignment from Chronogram to photograph Cary Fowler I was very excited to meet the man behind the Seed Vault. What’s the Seed Vault you might ask? Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s a vault up near the top of the world in Norway containing agricultural seeds from all over the planet. Why? To preserve and archive that’s why..
So, most countries have their own vaults, with seeds from their own land. What has happened though and tragically more than a few times is that these local vaults have become compromised or completely destroyed. War, flooding or other natural events or simply mechanical issues have destroyed these seeds. So in an effort to combat these issues, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault was born. A world vault if you will containing roughly 930,000 samples. I urge you to read more about this as it’s a foward thinking concept that is attempting to preserve our seed heritage. Cary also has a book out about the vault with many incredible images called Seeds on Ice, check it out. I also an interview on the CBS Sunday Morning Show, they ran a good story on him.
Oh right, my shoot.. Cary was a easy going man to photograph, I met him and his wife at their beautiful home in Rhinebeck. He showed me around and I saw a couple things but I really wanted photograph him with the seriousness that someone of his caliber deserves, so I set up a small studio shot in his kitchen. I then also decided I wanted the shot to be in black and white, I wanted gravitas.. The shot came together really quick, and after no more than 30-40 frames I had it. We quickly moved on to his office, where I got a sense of who Cary is. He apologized for the messiness, he had been traveling he mentioned. After seeing his level of disorder, it occurred to me that my office looks like I have been away for 25 years.. After the office Cary brought me to the greenhouse. Wow! Something so amazing to see, a fully verdant greenhouse in the late part of the winter. I took some shots but these felt more obligatory and somewhat expected in nature. In the end Chronogram ran the studio portrait full page and its looks great.
Thanks so much Cary, great pleasure meeting you.