Margherita Hack and Federico

June 29, 2013 10:01 am

Margherita Hack, the beloved Italian astrophysicist, died today at the age of 91. Back in June of 2009 I was fortunate to have the chance to photograph her for Italian Marie Claire. We were shooting a feature about young people who were given the chance to interview their idol. In the picture that finally ran, Federico had just asked her why the sky was blue.

I received a few emails this morning from different people who were thinking of her. One friend described her as Italy’s most influential intellectual. Looking back on the shoot all I can remember was the massive amount of books. She must have had over a hundred thousand books in her home. They were everywhere—on the floor, in the bathtub, the kitchen counters didn’t have an inch of space for any cooking because there were just piles of books. I regret not having the time to shoot some interior shots to show her incredible collection. What I do have is a few outtakes from the shoot and I’ve included them below.

The original photo that was used in the magazine.

Federico brought his questions carefully written out. But when it came time to ask he got nervous and asked her to read them for him.

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