September-2012

In this series, creative director Cathy Mullaly shares the stories behind some of the pictures in BCBusiness and Vancouver magazine.

This one is a few years old, but a great photo stands the test of time.

Usually, a lot of time and planning go into a cover for BCBusiness. But every once in a while, the perfect photo lands in your lap—or to be more precise, your inbox.

In 2011, I got just such an email from Michael Bednar, whom I had met several years earlier but never worked with. Michael had honed his skills as a travel and documentary photographer and spent a good deal of time shooting in remote parts of B.C. Out on assignment, he came across a group of tree planters. While chatting to one of them, he realized he was talking to my son Connor. Let me take your photo, and Ill send it to your mom, Michael said. Which he did. It was an amazing photo. I sent it home to show my husband, and that was that.

The next summer, BCBusiness did a package of stories about the state of the forestry industry in the province, including pine beetles, forest fires and silviculture (tree planting). The editorial team was discussing cover options. Pine beetles—not very visually appealing. Scorched forest—not so much either. Tree planting—visually it would work, but we didn't have someone specific to shoot, or the budget to fly a photographer to some remote location.

The portrait of Connor soon popped back into my head: beautiful blue sky, handsome (if I do say so) tree planter, just the perfect hit of red on his shovel. When I did a mockup for managing editor Kate McLennan, it didnt take long for her to agree that we had the perfect cover and to write some copy for it. That was an easy one!