Had the opportunity recently to photograph Niall Ferguson, Harvard’s “enfant terrible” of the history world for Barron’s Magazine. Whether he’s “terrible” or not I’ll leave to those who can pronounce such things, but for me he couldn’t have been nicer or more gracious. We chatted about his work, his amazing wife – author of “Infidel,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and he mentioned that he’d been recently hanging out with Henry Kissinger – as one does.
Niall Ferguson, History’s Rock Star for Barron’s
This was the second time I’ve photographed him, the first was a couple of years ago for Der Spiegel. One of the challenges of re-photographing someone, especially when the subject is time constrained, is coming up with something very different from the first shoot. I knew his office was going to be tough, but the weather gods graced me with a lovely, brooding “enfant terrible” sky so we got to work on incorporating that sky into the first setup…
Well, what the weather gods give, they can also take away.
Niall was meeting with a student while we finished the setup, when I noticed that looming over my shoulder was not brooding texturally dramatic clouds but dark grey featureless slate which could mean only one thing…. Ran to his office, grabbed our guy and sat him down quick… about three minutes into the shoot, the weather gods delivered their punchline in the form of drenching hail and rain.
Ferguson dashed back to his office, while Tom and I set about clearing my gear from the downpour. Though I was pretty sure we had a good couple of images from the abbreviated session, I still wanted a second setup. Grabbed a light and a short seamless and set up in his exceptionally narrow office, grateful that he managed to get inside before getting drenched.