With the occasion of Dan Brown’s launch of his new novel, Inferno, which sold 228,961 printed copies in the UK alone in its first week (who says books were dead?), Die Weltwoche in Switzerland contacted me to license a portrait I took of the author in Exeter, New Hampshire. The portrait in the mysterious stairway has a story, which I will revisit here.
When I was first invited to photograph Dan Brown, courtesy of Editorial Planeta, the Spanish publisher of The Lost Symbol, I was clearly told he wouldn’t pose for any pictures; photographs were to be taken exclusively during his interview time.
As soon as Mr. Brown arrived at the Philips Exeter Academy library (New Hampshire), where we were to interview and photograph him, he cordially allowed photographs and video taken of him while he stood surrounded by books, and by Spanish and Argentinian media. I went down on my knees to take a photo from a different perspective than everybody else, and when Dan looked my way, I couldn’t help but lower my head in submission.
He must have liked my demeanor, then and during the interview with Carlos Fresneda, US bureau chief for El Mundo, which you can read here (in Spanish), for he agreed to pose for me, if only for an instant, on his way out for the lunch break. We were to meet at the entrance of the library, but when I saw him taking the stairs, I followed (after all, I’m fond of stairs, and I had taken them on the way up to the sixth floor). There I saw the opportunity for THE photo. “Could you please hold it and look up my way?” That was it! The result was published in the printed edition of El Mundo, alongside a profile photo taken during the interview, shown above.
Dan was so kind, I had to run and buy The Lost Symbol, his latest novel while everybody else was eating lunch. I ran back to the library and, during a break of another one of his interviews, I asked him to sign it for a friend. I was sure to point out I bought it at a small Exeter bookshop, thus supporting not only him, but his local economy. “Thanks, I can put gas in my car now,” he joked.
Thank you, Dan, you’re a true sport.