When the phone rang, my assistant and I were on the road shooting a short piece for VIA magazine. It was April 1, 2004 and the woman on the line identified herself as a photo editor from National Geographic Traveler and wanted to know if I would be available for a shoot. Thinking this was a joke, I handed the phone to my assistant and asked her to take a message. Well, it turned out to not be a joke at all. Instead, it was the beginning of a now decade long relationship with a client that I treasure. National Geographic Traveler has sent me to 5 continents, countless cities with assignments ranging from luxury hotels in the Caribbean to food in Sydney. Earlier in 2004, I had received a very nice letter from the illustrations assistant but it was so similar to all the other letters that had piled up from magazines throughout the years of schlepping my portfolio around that I just added it to the pile. Little did I know that that letter would end up being the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a magazine I had dreamed about being a photographer for since I was a child.
My first assignment was a one day shoot. I was so nervous! The story was about the Panama Hotel in Seattle. It’s a tea shop and bed & breakfast located in the city’s historic International District. I spent the whole day making pictures: from details of the tea to interiors with people, to the picture that ended up running, an exterior of the tea cafe at dusk. Here’s the shot that ran – my first image published in National Geographic Traveler:
After I completed this assignment, the magazine requested that I do a shoot on Cortez Island, part of the Discovery islands in British Columbia, where there is a retreat center. This was part of a larger story about Canada. After I sent in the film from that shoot, the editors called and told me that they had decided to assign me to cover the rest of the story entitled, “Canada Coast-to-Coast.” I covered four provinces in just under three weeks. The story ran in the November/December issue of 2004. Here is the opening spread of the 13 page story:
Since that first assignment, I’ve been working with them ever since. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful relationship with a magazine I’ve admired for so long. Thank you National Geographic for all of the adventures! I look forward to what the future holds.