Saturday, November 22, 2008
This is the Stephen Hawking cover that Mackenzie Stroh shot in the mathematics department at Cambridge for Discover's December issue. Mackenzie is a photographer who has handled difficult jobs beautifully for me before, and I had complete faith in her. Mackenzie has a body of personal work, of portraits of people who have had medically necessary plastic surgery, that I saw when I was at Newsweek. These images impressed me as being truly sensitive portraiture, of a difficult subject that could have easily been sensationalist, but in her hands was empathetic and moving. In addition to this personal work she also has some beautiful portraits of A-list celebrities, and her lighting is always perfect. These factors made her the only photographer I wanted to trust with this high profile job. Stephen Hawking rarely grants portrait shoots, his assistant told me that he "gets a bit bored" with the process of being photographed. He is nearly completely paralyzed, and responds with eye movements and the assistance of a computer, so Mackenzie directed his eyes only. As far as I am aware, this is the only studio portrait of a contemporary Stephen Hawking, and I am proud of the results.
To see more of Mackenzie's work look here: