We are now in the season of Nobel Prize announcements. Last year, when Angus Deaton was recognized for his work in economics, Princeton University assigned me to make his cover portrait. But there was a catch – the Nobel laureate’s portrait had to be made during the press conference! A battery of photographers huddled shoulder-to-shoulder as Professor Deaton took the podium. All of our many pictures were virtually identical. Next we followed him to a large reception. As he sat to the side, awaiting his introduction, my colleagues once again jostled for the best view of the lectern where he would soon stand. With a crowd of people to my back and a pack of photographers focusing elsewhere, Professor Deaton found momentary refuge in the shadows. I dialed down my on-camera flash to fill in the voids, but also to preserve the ambient lighting. His eyes met mine in acknowledgement. Shortly after, his response to a laudatory remark completed the sense of joy and intimacy we needed for his cover portrait.

Novel Laureate Angus Deaton