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The Holy Cow Issue

The Story Behind the Cover of VICE's April Issue

Photographer Tim Schutsky hung out with some eerie cows and played around with googly eyes to get the perfect shot for our April 2016 cover.

by Tim Schutsky
12 April 2016, 4:00am

This article appeared in the April issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.

Tim Schutsky is a Brooklyn-based photographer known for his multifarious styles and knack for capturing the oddities (and eyeballs) around him. VICE caught up with him after the shoot to find out how he got the perfect shot for our April 2016 cover.

VICE: We sent you to Virginia to photograph a rare breed of cattle. Can you give us some background on how you got the cover shot?
Tim Schutsky: I spent the last few hours of the shoot chasing cows around to take close-ups of them. They kept running away every time I would take a shot!

Where did the shoot take place?
On a farm. Our car couldn't make it to their main house; you had to drive through a creek to get there.

How do you feel about these mysterious cows?
I grew up in Pennsylvania, so cows aren't too foreign to me, but they did have an eerie presence.

As a vegetarian, did you find this assignment particularly hard?
The cows seemed to have a big, well-kept space to live, where they were free to roam. As far as I could tell, they are treated very well during their lifetime. It didn't bother me at all.

An alternative cover for our April 2016 issue

Where do you get your day-to-day inspiration?
Big River Man is my favorite film right now. I'm wishing Martin Strel the best of luck. He is currently trying to swim the entire circumference of the earth!

What projects are you working on right now?
I'm editing a body of work titled The Odds of Being Born, which is excerpted in this issue, and working on video components for the project.

We tried out a few of your photos for cover options, including one with some great googly-eyed action. How did that photo come about?
My collaborator, Keren, will often place googly eyes on potato pancakes transforming them into "potato pancake creatures." It's a simple action. The googly eyes alter the photo's subject completely.

An Ancient White Park cow chomps on some hay in this outtake.

The photographer poses at dawn in Alleghany Springs, Virginia.

Ancient White Park cattle bask in the morning light.

This article appeared in the April issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.