Isn’t it great to email a client and have them respond with “perfect timing”? That’s exactly what Ian Curcio experienced for his first assignment with Rotarian Magazine and its art director, Jennifer Moody. We wrote about that project last year and are happy to report that Ian met another supremely interesting person as a result of working with the publication this time around. Her name is Sarah Parcak, and her job title is Space Archaeologist.
This is only my second assignment with Rotarian Magazine’s new art director, Jennifer Moody. As I do with so many of my clients, I sent Jennifer an email simply saying hello and making sure that I was staying on her radar. She immediately responded with a “perfect timing” email — she had a shoot in Birmingham, Alabama with a space archaeologist if I was interested.
Jennifer is a very detailed art director. She sent a three-page PDF of ideas about how I could photograph Sarah. She followed up by saying, ‘I LOVE your photography, so in the end, I trust you to go with your gut.’
Not every assignment is tailor-made for pre-shoot research, but this one was. Sarah is one of the prominent names in her field, an Indiana Jones fanatic (just like Ian) who uses satellite technology to unveil potential dig sites for archaeologists eager to uncover lost worlds. People want to hear her speak, so doing homework was a cinch for Ian.
I spent days watching videos and reading articles by Sarah. Between her TED talk, interview with Stephen Colbert, and insanely active Twitter feed, I felt like I knew her going in.
Sarah is a superstar in her field. She’s the face of Space Archaeology. A modern-day Indiana Jones. Between my nostalgia for Indiana Jones and my love of all things space, I had tons of questions I could have asked her.
Like with that previous assignment of Ian’s we covered a few months back, the subject for this shoot was accommodating as could be. Through Ian’s images and the story itself, we get a sense that this is a woman who lives and breathes her work — and is all too happy to pass along whatever knowledge she’s accrued to anyone willing to listen.
We shot at Sarah’s GlobalXplorer headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. She was every bit as cool as I knew she would be. She gave us 100% of her attention. She was more than willing to go the extra mile and wanted to make sure we were getting what we needed out of the shoot. In total, I think we spent two hours working together.
We moved through several locations within the building and outside. We also went through a few outfit changes. My assistant and I needed to be quick and nimble in our approach. Everything was done with either one light, natural light, and/or a reflector and flag. Sarah is comfortable in her own skin and it shows in front of the camera. She needed very little direction. Just enough to let her know what I was looking for and the rest fell into place naturally. She was a real joy to work with and be around.
Predictably, Sarah’s enthusiasm for this field rubbed off on Ian, who found himself even more intrigued by what’s already a pretty cool discipline. And Sarah’s online platform makes it easy for prospective archaeologists of all ages to indulge in their interests.
Seeing Sarah’s passion for archaeology just further piqued my interest in a subject I already enjoyed but probably didn’t spend enough time thinking about or talking with my kids about. Anyone, even children, can join her online platform, GlobalXplorer, becoming citizen explorers and help make significant discoveries.
Check out more of Ian’s work on his website.