If the cover shot of Howard Gould caught your eye, I understand. Gould has a way of instantly engaging people by being utterly himself. I learned this during the cover shoot, in which we put him to the test.
It’s relevant to note that he is high-energy and an expert in clean energy; that he is good-natured and dedicated to protecting nature; and that he is easy-going and always up for going abroad to explore.
And yet I do believe this magazine’s crew was able to stump him.
We assumed that if we were going to photograph an environmental expert, that we had better take the shot outside. But we made that decision in a warm month. When the day of the shoot arrived, I was tapping my thermometer to see if it was broken. We gripped our parkas to trap every bit of heat and left Gould to fend for himself in nothing more than a suit and hiking boots.
On top of that, we asked him to lean casually against a tree centered in a four-inch-deep pile of leaves one moment then change into a suit and sit for a formal shot on a cold stone wall. All the while, we were shooting out rapid-fire questions about the environment, clean-energy technology, China, world travels, verbal combats with Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, and being a dad—like we were paparazzi—to get a shot that had him “engaged.” We also repeatedly cut him off midanswer to review images.
During one huddle, Gould jumped up on that terrace wall and was talking enthusiastically with the photographer’s assistant. He was relaxed, engaged—better than ever. We quietly turned the camera and snapped our favorite pose: his own.
We listened. And thinking about it now, that’s what Gould wants for his mission: he remains environmentally authentic while also reaching investors who may or may not care about the environment but do care about profits. The discussion is now about issues and opportunities.
At the end of the shoot, he said, “Look what it’s like now, fighting over oil. What will it be like when we’re fighting over water—a resource essential for life?” That gets my attention. How about yours?