Behind the Lens

Twenty-some years ago, a fair-haired young man climbed the steps to 88 St. Stephen Street with a proposition. He had recently opened a photography business, he explained, and he was doing quite well. The pay was good, mostly commercial work—portraits of CEOs, corporate images for annual reports, commercial shots for advertising copy, and the like. He said he had been so lucky, he wanted to give something back. He saw NBP’s sign out front. Do you need any free photography?

Cover of 'iOS Success'.  Photography by Webb Chappell

Cover of ‘iOS Success’

Free? Not even lunch is free. I was lucky enough to be in the office that day, to take advantage of Webb Chappell’s amazing offer. I think his first assignment—this was the mid-80s—was to photograph one of our customers using a personal computer with speech at Honeywell. This was cutting edge. More recently, Webb did a promotional photo for Stir It Up!, NBP’s cookbook for blind children, and just last month, he shot the book cover for our newly released iOS Success: Making the iPad Accessible.

And so it continues—now approaching three decades—the two of us heading out on shoots, not knowing what might transpire behind the lens. We grew up, our kids grew up, and Webb kept his pledge to “give something back.” On a recent volunteer assignment, Webb brought along a new fair-haired assistant, his son Julian. My goodness, the last time I saw Julian, he was a child. I asked him, Did he know the story of how his dad got involved with NBP? He didn’t (and from the look on Webb’s face, I’m not sure he remembered either). As I retold the story, my voice breaking up with emotion, Julian learned something about the man his dad is. And I got a chance to give back.