A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Chester Johnson Is A Cowboy
Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The 1987 Equity profile on BC Hyro's new boss, Chester Johnson had the above title as the lead to the story. The writer, Judy Lees had discovered that the urbane Johnson had a secret life as a rancher and loved horses. I was dispatched to find a location in Southlands that would serve as a backdrop for the photograph. When I found this old truck I was very happy. I then made an appointment with Mr. Johnson. The day of the shoot I was on the lookout for him. A beautiful maroon Maserati Quattroporte arrived and from it emerged Johnson, a most handsome man in one of the most beautiful suits I had ever seen. He asked me where the changing room was. I directed him to a nearby shack. In a few minutes the cowboy emerged. Through the years I got to photograph him again, particularly when he worked as head of the airport authority.

By then he had sold his Maserati and bought a Jaguar convertible. He took me for a spin and told me, "I do miss that Quattroporte on some days."

Today I wonder if any local executive would have Johnson's sense of humour or understand the power and value of a distinct image. Will the Chester Johnson and Jack Munro brand of executives ever come back? In the early 90s during the annual report boom I had some spare change and bought myself a maroon Maserati (alas the two-door version, the Biturbo, that was a poor cousin) and lived to regret my folly.


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