Tearsheet: Chinese business espionage and AMSC for Le Monde

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.

Tearsheet: George Church and his lab for Norway’s Morgenbladet

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.

Tearsheet: Gerrymandering Hackathon for Wired


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!

Tearsheet: WWE Champion Jinder Mahal for the New York Times


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.

Tearsheet: Looking at Old Faithful for Topic


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."

Tearsheet: Colleges of the Fenway dance class for the Chronicle of Higher Education

I photographed dance classes at the Colleges of the Fenway for the Chronicle of Higher Education a few weeks back for a story on small colleges pooling resources for student life activities. The six colleges in the Colleges of the Fenway consortium operate together for some arts and sports activities so each college's students have more opportunities than what would be available if the colleges operated separately.

Thanks, as always, to Erica and Rose and the rest of the team at the Chronicle for the assignment and for the great play in print!

error: All images and text © M. Scott Brauer 2005-present