I spent a couple of days alongside Le Monde reporter Arnaud Leparmentier a few months back on stories about the effect of the Trump administration on American businesses. For the first, we profiled the Massachusetts-based wind turbine controller manufacturer AMSC (previously known as American Superconductor). The company's technology was stolen in 2011 by one of their largest clients, the Chinese wind farm company Sinovel, through means that sound like a cold-war spy thriller. After efforts to break AMSC's software encryption failed, one of their European employees was plied with money and Chinese prostitutes to get access to AMSC's proprietary software.
Due to (understandable) security issues, I couldn't photograph much at the manufacturing plant, but the story is fascinating. We spent an hour or so with CEO Daniel P. McGahn, who estimates that as much as 70% of China's wind turbines run software pirated from AMSC. The initial announcement of the theft, in 2013, resulted in the company losing billions of dollars in market value and it's been a struggle for the company to recover. Both the Obama and Trump administrations have actively lobbied China's government to remedy the situation. Sinovel has been convicted or otherwise found liable for the crime in American, European, and Chinese courts, but AMSC has yet to see any monetary compensation. The company has rebounded, but still has far fewer employees than before the theft.
At left, you can see how the pictures ran in the 10 Feb 2018 edition of the French newspaper.
Thanks to Eric at Le Monde for contacting me for the assignment.
I was very surprised to hear from my editor, Ariana at the the New York Times' Arts photo desk, that one of my pictures of WWE Champion Jinder Mahal was selected among the Times' favorite arts photos of 2017. What an honor to be included among photos by so many talented photographers (and with quite a few friends in the mix!) and to see my photo in the mix of pictures of Bruce Springsteen, Nicole Kidman, Mark Hamill, Kumail Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Katy Perry, and other stars of stage, screen, and the rest of the art world. As you can see in the screenshot, I even got to write a little blurb about the surreal experience of photographing professional wrestling.
Times editors describe the collection of images: "These images, some of the best we took in 2017, capture the power of the artists and performers we covered — and offer plenty of beauty on their own.... We want art to transport us, to take us beyond ourselves and the stubborn gravity of our lives. That’s one lesson from the selection of exceptional arts photography below, all commissioned or published by our photo editors this year. Memorable subjects like the actor Mark Hamill, the acrobat Elena Gatilova and the professional wrestler Jinder Mahal used their particular gifts to open portals to other worlds, resurrecting Luke Skywalker, making poetry out of aerial performance or conquering the WWE in the process."
The whole set is well worth a look: How We Looked at the Arts This Year: Our Favorite Photographs. Thanks to Ariana and the rest of the NYT photo department!
I photographed Harvard and MIT geneticist George Church a couple of months ago for the Norwegian news-weekly Morgenbladet. His work is fascinating--he's contributed to targeted gene editing such as CRISPR (and a newer method he thinks is better) and cloning the DNA of the woolly mammoth (soon to be a major motion picture)--and it was a joy to sit in on the interview and work alongside Morgenbladet writer Jon Kåre Time.
We were a bit unsure what sort of access we'd have for the piece, but thanks to the lab for being so open, I was able to get enough pictures for the cover (at left) and across 8 pages inside the magazine. I wish I could read the reporting, but if you happen to speak Norwegian and subscribe to Morgenbladet, you can read the online version here. There are a few images online that didn't appear in print.
I've got many more photos in my archive from my short time in the lab with George Church, his lab's staff philosopher and bioethicist Jeantine E. Lunshof, and the rest of the researchers.
A big thanks to Christina and Jon at Morgenbladet, Jonno for passing the job along to me, and Church's assistant and lab staff for being so accommodating to us.
I recently photographed a gerrymandering hackathon at Tufts University for Wired. The hackathon was put on by the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering GroupMetric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group, a Boston-based group of mathematicians, coders, and policy wonks, who develop tools and methods for analyzing US voting districting. This was a challenging shoot, no doubt about it. I've photographed other hackathons before and they often something physical for the participants to work on--circuitboards, VR systems, etc. This one was purely computational: There were 15 people in a small room, all staring at computers. Nevertheless, a challenge like that is always fun.
You can read the article, by Issie Lapowsky, at Wired.com: "What I Learned At Gerrymandering Summer Camp"
Thanks to Ruby at Wired for calling me for the shoot!
Last week, I spent a couple hours backstage and ringside for a New York Times profile of the current World Wrestling Entertainment Champion Jinder Mahal. Thanks to Ariana for the assignment and for the great play in the 19 August 2017 New York Times Arts Section. I believe this is the largest color picture I've had in the Times: one full-frame six-column picture on the section front, another six-column cropped image inside, and then a handful of other images to round out the print edition.
You can read the article and see a few more pictures here:How Jinder Mahal, an Indian WWE Star, Is Turning Up the Heat.
In July 2017 I traveled to Yellowstone for a short vacation. Before leaving, David at Topic (with whom I'd previously worked when he was at the Asia Society) got in touch about doing a piece for their ongoing "Reaction" series of people looking at something extraordinary. We came up with the idea to photograph people looking at Old Faithful, and the end result has now been published at Topic. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, despite the heat and difficulty getting in front of crowds anxious to get a view of the geyser.
You can see more images from the shoot at Topic's website: "Staring Into the Face of Old Faithful."