Behind the Cover: The Childfree Life by Randal Ford

Photo-illustration by Randal Ford for TIME
Photo-illustration by Randal Ford for TIME
The cover of the August 12, 2013 issue of TIME.

The images of Randal Ford, a 31-year-old editorial and commercial photographer from Austin, Texas, more often than not features archetypes of classic Americana culture. While working as a photographer at Texas A&M’s student newspaper, he began exploring portraiture as an outlet for his creative interests. Studying the work of impressionist painters, he observed the light, composition and color palettes chosen by the masters. Says Ford: “I fell in love with the idea of creating a narrative in one image: the portrait. It took a while to find my vision and style, but once I did, I really tried to bring it to multiple genres of work.”

That’s exactly why TIME turned to Ford for our cover this week, to illustrate our story by Lauren Sandler on the growing trend of childless couples in America.

Kira Pollack/TIME

Kira Pollack/TIME

Behind the scenes at our cover shoot.

“My goal for the cover was to show two people as a family unit,” Ford told TIME. “I wanted to create connectivity between this couple that didn’t have kids.”

Ford and his crew awoke at 3:45am to catch the sunrise on the beach in Long Island, N.Y. Over several hours, Ford shot three scenes for TIME: a bird’s eye view looking at a couple from above, another of a couple lounging on a beach with their backs to the camera, and a third with a family lugging the accoutrements of a family’s day at the beach — rafts, towels, umbrellas and coolers — in an overflowing wagon.

“My goal is always to tell a story in one image,” he explains, “and to make someone stop and be caught up in all the elements of the photograph.”

Since then, Ford has spent the last decade shooting commercial and editorial work for a diverse range of clients — L.L. Bean, Huggies, and Field & Stream Magazine, to name a few — but whatever the genre, the images he creates feel incredibly consistent.

Nostalgia and Americana, so it seems, still manage to turn heads in the hands of the right photographer.

To read the full TIME cover story, “The Childfree Life: When Having It All Means Not Having Children,” subscribe here. Already a subscriber? Click here.


Randal Ford is a commercial and editorial photographer based in Austin, Texas.

Vaughn Wallace is the producer of LightBox. Follow him on Twitter @vaughnwallace.


Related Topics: , , , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

Paul Strand Archive—Aperture Foundation

Paul Strand, Master of Modernism, in Retrospect

The first major retrospective of Paul Strand's work in nearly 50 years presents him as not only a critical figure in the history of modern art, but seeks to re-affirm his place as one of the founders of photography as we know it today.

Read More
Steven Nelson, 51, sits where a window was broken at Red's Original BBQ where he works in Ferguson, Missouri on October 8, 2014.

Photojournalism Daily: Oct. 30, 2014

David Armstrong - Fashion

Remembering Photographer David Armstrong (1954—2014)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,870 other followers