by Greg Fulmes

On assignment for numerous publications over the years I have had the good fortune to photograph many, many incredible people. Some famous, some not so much. But everyone has been a moment to remember…Christopher Hitchens, who greeted us at the door of his hotel room bleary eyed and in his bath robe, having flown in from London mere hours before...we woke him up. I photographed him while we waited for room service to bring coffee…Jim Kinnear, founding member of the Glencoe…we chatted about drivers and short games…he offered me tips that unfortunately never helped my crappy golf game….Jacques Demers who was on a tour promoting literacy…it was an honour to spend a glorious day in the studio with him surrounded by young people…Brenda, an oncology nurse, cuddling Jade, a young cancer patient. Little did I know at the time that, a few years later, Brenda would also care for my daughter Carly when she was diagnosed with cancer…

You will see an image here of oil man J.C. Anderson. I had photographed J.C. numerous times in his office, boardroom, wherever and always found him to be wonderful. He had this beautiful, raw truth to him. I was asked by my editor to get a “different” picture of J.C….maybe on his ranch. I called and spoke with his assistant and explained what we were after. She called me back a bit later after having spoken to J.C. We scheduled 30 minutes at 10:00am on Saturday. I arrived a bit early, parked my truck and rang the bell. A minute later the door swung open and there was J.C…jeans, shirt, jean jacket… no suit!! Awesome! A big hand came out and his voice boomed…”GREG! Come on in. Damn rain. Want a coffee? Bit of Bailey’s in it perhaps?” We sat in his kitchen, drank coffee and Bailey’s and talked for more than the half hour that had been allotted. Finally he suggested we hop on his JD Gator and take a tour of the property. He proudly showed me the trails he had cut through the trees for his grand kids, the fence he had built with old drill stem, the equestrian centre where I met his son John. I mentioned how incredible it all was…”Greg”, he boomed. “I’m not a poor man…but even I couldn’t afford this fucking place now!” he grinned. We toured some more before stopping at a stack of bales. We talked, he reminisced. For the umpteenth time that day I felt like pinching myself. What a gift I had been given by this amazing and humble man. The picture you see was real. He paused as we chatted. I made the picture. I left soon after. Incredulous. My 30 minutes with J.C. had turned into hours. The most wonderful, incredible hours. I had learned so much. I think it was the last time I spoke to him. Some time later I was contacted by his office. He was retiring and they wanted to know if they could buy a copy of the picture to have framed as a gift to J.C. Apparently it was his favourite. No, I said, you can’t buy it. You can have it. My gift to you and to J.C. for the gift of knowing and photographing him. I will always remember that day.