National Geographic : 1993 Mar
On Assignment n the company of giants, free lance photographer BOB SACHA checks his light meter and waits for sunset on Easter Island. "It is extraordinary to be alone with these huge moai," Bob says. "They seem to exert spiritual power. Under a full moon they just swell out of the darkness at you. It's strange; I seem to be in a phase of following spirits." The New York-based photogra pher recently scoured the Americas for clues to ancient peoples who used the sun and stars to select the sites and orientation of their sacred places (GEOGRAPHIC, March 1990). "I get an incredible feeling being outdoors in these places," says Bob. In another assignment he searched for the spirit of Christopher Colum bus before his epic discoveries. Bob, whose first GEOGRAPHIC assignment resulted in a cover pho tograph of the Statue of Liberty for the July 1986 issue, inherited his interest in cameras from his father, a retired educator and enthusiastic amateur photographer in Buffalo, New York. A summer photography course led to a high school job cov ering sports for a local newspaper. After graduating from Syracuse University, Bob worked for the PhiladelphiaInquirer. "I've always had a lot of people who were good to me," he says. "And I've been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time." Bob found himself in the right place at the wrong time during his Columbus coverage. He and his interpreter were overlooking Genoa, Italy, from a hilltop when a group of policemen showed up and pointed machine guns at them. "This was during the gulf war when everyone was on edge; I guess they thought we were terrorists. They wouldn't even let us reach into our jackets for IDs. After tense minutes of explana tion, we were finally released." The most interesting place Bob has ever visited, he says, is always the next one. "When I hear about a place, my imagination takes over. Then the trick is, can I get this sense of wonder, a kind of spirituality, into the film so people looking at the magazine can feel it too. That's the challenge of a place like Easter Island-to reach people who will never be able to go there. It really makes me nervous." Close to home, Bob and writer Regina Schrambling, his longtime companion, recently traveled through 12 states to record the har vesting of crops, like cranberries, that are strictly seasonal. Their book, American Harvests, will be out in a few months. "I approached the book the same way I do other projects: I work hard without ever believing it is hard work." NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC(ISSN0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHENATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,17THANDM STS. N.W., WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASS POSTAGEPAID AT WASHINGTON,D.C., ANDELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SENDADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O . BOX 2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.