I was on assignment for Smithsonian Magazine, shooting a story about the restoration of Versailles after storms had severely damaged many of the gardens. That was the bad news – I was going to be shooting damaged beauty. The good news was that a lot of work and money had been infused into the gardens of Versailles after they had been neglected for years – some gardens had been gated with no entry.
I consider myself as a people photographer so photographing gardens wasn’t exactly in my wheelhouse but the magazine editor must have seen something in me that I didn’t. After seeing dozens of uprooted trees, I asked the head gardener if he would pose for a portrait. He obliged and his body language said it all. He was confident – in control – and was restoring the beauty.
It’s not often that one gets to see to behind the scenes of a place but I did at Versailles that day. It will be a day I won’t forget.