Matthew Ginn in a self-portrait at the Baldock array.
Writing stories and shooting photographs are very distinct arts requiring very different talent and skills. But once in a while you get a crossover artist like photographer Matthew Ginn, who documents the building of the Baldock solar array that was developed under the Oregon Solar Highway Program and is the largest of its kind in the U.S.
Good writers and good photographers are at their core good storytellers, just working in different mediums. That describes Ginn, a Portland-based photographer who was drawn not only to the visual possibilities of the project, but also to the fact that it was a good business story.
“It’s impressive to see all these agencies with different goals and mandates trying to achieve something like this,” says Ginn. “I’ve always been interested in construction. It’s a pretty big and unique infrastructure project that sounded good from a photographic perspective — there are great lines on an array like that — but also had a good angle for the magazine.”
And stories can be told in many ways. Our magazine is filled with many thousands of words (after all, editors/writers are in charge here), but we know a picture can be worth a thousand of them, and we know when to back up and make room for the visual.
Ginn focused not just on the hardware and technology, but on the people doing the building. The toughest challenge was getting enough elevation to give the array the perspective it needed. The solution was for Ginn to get in a small plane and shoot while hanging out the window as the plane was going 80 miles per hour.
That’s a skill best left to photographers who will do anything to get their shot.