We celebrated Earth Day this past week. This observance has been around for a while now, and back in the 70’s I was occasionally assigned to cover some of the events. I shot the above for UPI one year, at an Earth Day observance at the UN. I recall it being the usual, uh, cluster….k, in NY press terminology, with all the papers, the wires, and the TV folks angling for angles and exclusives. I was working for the formidable drill instructor of editors, Larry DeSantis, or LD, as we called him, who told me in no uncertain terms to get the muckety-mucks. In color.
Which was just something you did back then, even though what was required, photographically, was positively gymnastic, compared to now. I showed up with three cameras, two in B&W for basic, get your butt on the wire quick coverage, and then a third with transparency material for the famous folks. Seeing as the camera meters back in the day were famously unreliable, I also had an incident meter, which I recall was a Gossen Luna Pro. I had taken all the Photomic heads off my F2 cameras, and replaced them with plain prisms, so none of my cameras actually even had a meter in them. There was, I guess you could say, a lot of interpolation going on in your head as a shooter at that point, which is a fancy word for guesswork. At any rate, I guessed my way to this shot of UN Ambassador Andrew Young with Robert Redford. It’s not a good photo. But it got play, ’cause they were muckety-mucks.
There were numerous calls for Earth Day photos this past week, such as the collaborative effort displayed by Google+ and TIME magazine. Thought about rummaging for that, but it became one of the three or four dozen things I didn’t do this week. It did cause me to think about shooting the picture below, though.
I was on the edge of the Rift Valley in Kenya, in spring, about now, actually, working with Kenyan long distance runners on a story for the National Geographic about human performance. No cell phones, email, computers, texting, or Instagramming. Just sunrise and sweat. Waiting for the light to come up, the runners stretched out, and I shot this young man, whose arms seemed to embrace the sun. In the Rift Valley, every day is Earth Day.
Later, I shot him in a splash of light, in his modest dorm.
And later still, I shot other runners, looking at the wall of winners. Young men all, hoping their legs would run them to glory.
Have a great weekend, everybody. More tk…