A little before Christmas, I got an email from an editor at The New York Times to photograph a story on Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan down in Providence, where he used to live. This wasn’t my first portrait assignment for the Times but I’d only done a handful of stories for them before so I was excited to have the opportunity.
After taking rapid COVID tests in the hotel lobby with the staff writer, Moynihan showed us around his old neighborhood and it of course started to aggressively downpour. He was undisturbed by the rain and was an excellent tour guide of the city. I was supposed to photograph a few portraits of him as well as some of his personal landmarks in the city like the trifecta of skyscrapers where he had worked in all three buildings over the course of his career. He was pretty quickly soaked so I waited until after the interview to try and take a portrait but by that point, he was already very late. I got 90 seconds or so to take a few portraits of him while he walked back to his car and then he was gone. Not quite the glamorous portraits I had envisioned but I think they work. A few months later, the Times ran a single one of the portraits as part of a larger profile piece but none of the Providence ended up being important for the story.
Looking back through the assignment though, I really liked the Providence photos I took before and after the portraits as black and whites.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
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