The designer Florian Bachleda and I came up with the idea for Local Heroes one night while brainstorming book projects. We decided to pay homage to the men and women in volunteer fire departments. A childhood friend who volunteers in my hometown, Hastings, NY, helped us set up a shoot with the local VFD unit. Our subjects ranged from lawyers to scientists to topographical mapmakers. We met the writer Mark Fuchs, and together we created a mockup for publishers. One jumped on it, and encouraged us to set up shoots around the country.