Back in 2006 I had the honor and privilege to photograph Gloria for the NPR series This I Believe. There was no publicist or manager present. Just Gloria and I getting to know each other a bit as I photographed her. I’ve done this many times over my career. The challenge for me is to try to make a compelling, honest portrait without too much directing. Most often the best images are the result of a connection that emerges between us. It is, after all, a collaboration. Even so, you never know if you’ve translated this connection successfully into a good photograph until it’s too late.
Toward the end of the session, I asked if she felt comfortable leaning forward, maybe putting her head in her hands. She messed around with it for a few minutes and said no, it didn’t feel natural. Fair enough. We talked as I was crouched on the floor, packing up my gear. I looked up for a moment and there it was. She just gave it to me. Happy Birthday Gloria Steinem. And thank you!