i love this photo, #14

© Amy Toensing

I love this photo by the photographer Amy Toensing. It was made while she was working on a story about Monhegan Island, Maine, and shows Harry and Doug Odom, with their dog, Taxi. The two brothers, who never married, were icons on the small island - having been lobstermen, merchants and benefactors. They are shown preparing for bed in the room they shared - hanging above each brother's bed is a portrait of the other. (You can see more pictures, video clips and text from the story here.)

Amy was an intern at National Geographic in 1999 when she started working on the story. To me, the picture and the story behind it are in the classic tradition of the magazine. Amy spent lots of time on the tiny (700 acres) island, getting to know the community in an honest way. In the case of this particular image, she had made regular visits to the brothers' home, chatting with them as they played cribbage. One day, in order to show her an old photograph, Doug brought Amy into the bedroom. She knew she'd be back to make a picture of the brothers as they prepared for bed.

But it was only after she had spent honest time with her subjects that she was able to make this gem of a photo. It makes me wonder: as photographers, what simple, yet amazing things don't we see? What incredible and important picture is just down the hall?


Fabien Penso said...

This one is amazing, I love it too.

Mel Trittin said...

Be still my heart.

Channing said...

I always have this photo in the back of my mind when I take a picture. It is the standard for which I judge all my work against. It's not an example of photographic technique compensating for a lack of content. It is an example of the hard work and benefits of "being there".

Thanks for sharing this.