Off the Page
by LAURA WILSON
In late fall of 2008, I met John Updike and liked him—And thought then I’d like to do a portrait of him. But I dithered, and he died the following January before I had the chance. Earlier, I had seen some photographs taken by Dennis Stock of Updike in 1962 on the beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Updike, in street clothes, was at the edge of the waves, trying to get as close as possible without getting wet. The pictures were like stills from a home movie of a famous grown-up playing a children’s game by the sea.
Updike’s abrupt death prompted me to begin photographing writers in earnest. Over the course of 12 years, I was lucky enough to photograph some of the most influential writers of our time, women and men who will leave a lasting literary legacy.