Thursday, October 16, 2008

Time Out New York: Sarah Vowell

I've been doing the weekly "Hot Seat" portraits for Time Out New York magazine for over three years now, and it's been a real learning experience--in numerous ways--doing this same job, week in, week out, for so long.

The most exciting ones for me are when the subject is someone I really like--previously, I've done portraits of Aimee Mann, Albert Brooks, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Colbert and it's been really enjoyable getting an opportunity like that. Subconsciously, I probably put a little extra effort in those to make them extra good.

Another opportunity like that came up two weeks ago, when the Hot Seat interview subject was author and humorist Sarah Vowell.

Ms. Vowell has written several really good books, like Assassination Vacation, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, done some wonderful performances for NPR's This American Life (not to mention essaying the voice of Violet in The Incredibles). She has a new one out, about the Puritans, called The Wordy Shipmates, and that's what she was promoting in the HS interview.

Her books, while mostly being about the United States (and all its odd bits of history), they're not exclusively about that, so I went with a "world traveling" theme in the background. While it wasn't exactly what I would have done if I had had more time, it has a mellow, old-timey look that I thought worked well overall.

Sometimes the editors at TONY will ask me to make a change if there's something about the background they don't like or one reason or another; this time it went right through to print. Yay for me!

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