Meg Gaines looks serene and determined on the cover of this issue, and she is both — even when she isn’t being photographed in a boat on Lake Mendota on a chilly fall day.
But serenity leading up to that moment? Not so much.
When we at On Wisconsin headquarters started brainstorming ideas for the cover, we knew we wanted to feature Gaines in some way. While Gaines gives full credit to the contributions of her dedicated staff, for us she is the face of the Center for Patient Partnerships, a unique endeavor she initiated in 2001. To open the story, we had selected an illustration that represents the center’s philosophy of helping people navigate difficult times. We wanted to capture that same theme in the cover photo.
And that’s when it got interesting. We needed Gaines, a lake, two boats, just-right lighting, and cooperative weather. Gaines? Check — it’s on her calendar. A lake? Check — got that right here on campus. Boats? Check — thanks to Wisconsin Hoofers. Just-right lighting? Check — although things got a little dicey when the boat’s sail had to be dismantled, the task seemed to take forever, and the sun was rapidly setting. Cooperative weather? Check — we happened upon a perfect fall day, bracketed by days of rain and gray skies.
Then we needed a creative art director who, in his mind’s eye, could envision a concept and bring it to life. Check — Earl Madden MFA’82. We needed a seasoned photographer who knew how to capture the decisive moment, despite a rocking boat and fading late afternoon light. Check — Jeff Miller. And we needed a subject who could arrive right on time and be a good sport about all that we were asking. Thank you, serene and determined Meg Gaines.
A lot of conversations, a lot of e-mails, a lot of phone calls, and a little luck …
Published in the Winter 2009 issue