Brad Epley, chief conservator, at The Menil Collection
Brad Epley is a hero of sorts. When a vandal named Uriel Landeros decided to spray-paint a stencil over a Pablo Picasso painting in June 2012, Epley, the chief conservator at The Menil Collection in Houston rushed to begin repair on the painting before the paint dried. I was assigned to make his portrait for the Houston Chronicle. After making a series of portraits outdoors beside the museum, and a few in front of a large John Chamberlain sculpture (the museum would not allow us to photograph the repaired Picasso. I did see it personally, however, and it looked great to me), I was ready to pack it up when I spied a headset magnifier in the conservator's workspace. It's not the most original idea to photograph someone wearing glasses that distort their eyes, but the location was great and I was hoping everything would work as a two shot portrait. Plus, the conservator's workspace included it's own lights, used for illuminating art while cleaning and repairing it. It was like walking in to a perfect studio.