I was pleased to hear that CT had commissioned Jason Byassee to do a profile and analysis of N. T. Wright and his work, coinciding with the release of Wright's magnum opus on Paul. The importance of the man's views and his influence on contemporary Christian thought is not easily overestimated. But very few know anything about his day-to-day life.
Getting some significant time with the busy theologian would be essential to capturing photos of any real depth. Wright proved to be quite willing to spend a Sunday afternoon with a photographer in and around his rural home in Scotland.
I knew of only one photographer in the region that I thought would be right for the job, so I phoned him. He returned my call immediately—from Africa, where he was on assignment. It would be weeks before he returned home—far too late to photograph Wright in time for our April issue. I asked him for a short list of the best photographers he knew in the area, and on that list was the name Sophie Gerrard.
Sophie works as a documentary and portrait photographer as well an educator in a university setting (you can see more of her work here). I knew she was just the kind of person I wanted to spend an afternoon with Wright. They would have several hours together, and she would need to be able to engage Wright in an interesting conversation.
Sophie's understated yet sensitive work with landscape and with people—a non-imposing approach that leads to moments of quiet intimacy in her work—seemed to be exactly the right fit. With Wright's busy travel schedule, it was a small miracle for Sophie to photograph him at home, in a picturesque area just north of Edinburgh near the town of Elie. The afternoon they ...1