Alec Ross for GQ France

Alec Ross State Department

Alec Ross for GQ France

Alec Ross State Department

Some editorial shoots feel like a triumph of logistics and compromise if nothing else. Getting to that point where you're actually staring at your subject through the viewfinder and thinking about how it all might look is a seemingly minor outcome compared to the work that had gotten you there. In the weeks leading up to this shoot, dozens of e-mails were exchanged, locations were scouted, locations were rejected, and finally, a series of events was agreed upon regarding how the time between 2PM and 2:30PM on April 13, 2011 would look. Despite this planning, the logical, problem-solving part of me seems to take a backseat when the shoot starts, as new ideas go from abstract to a .CR2 file on a memory card in seconds and I hope instincts, experience and wonder might yield something new and surprising. These working methods of photographers are something that doesn't get talked about much (plastic flash modifiers and lens reviews seem to generate more traffic). I'm interested in that paradoxical dance of the portrait shoot-- where after spending an hour tweaking how a shadow falls under a subject's chin, I am primed like a photojournalist for that half second of realness. Alec Ross works at the US Department of State under Secretary Clinton and has brought State into the 21st century, exploring how digital diplomacy can transform societies. I'd like to thank Jamel Benjemaia at GQ France for the opportunity and for Alec for being such a patient and willing subject.