Published: November 2006
Vincent J. Musi

What was your best experience in the field covering this story?

After reading a number of books and articles about all the things Reinhold Messner has accomplished, the best thing was finally being face to face with this extraordinary guy. That was a real treat. Normally, I have time to develop a relationship with my sources before I photograph them. That was not the case with this story, but it worked out because Messner was a likeable man and very welcoming to me.

What was your worst experience in the field covering this story?

There is a bit of anxiety beforehand with any assignment, but on this one it was particularly high. I had a very short time to make photographs that would be looked at for a very long time. That was difficult.

What was your quirkiest experience in the field covering this story?

Messner lost some of his toes to frostbite. And since his feet, naturally, played a pivotal role in him becoming a high-altitude climber, I wanted to photograph them. You don't typically ask people to take off their shoes so you can photograph their feet, but it worked. He understood what I was trying to do.