Matt Gregory
Photo by Andy Newman

In September 2006, Matt Gregory left his Bellingham, Wash., apartment for a little walk. He never turned around, but kept walking and walking and walking.

I first learned about Matt’s marathon trek across the United States from a “Miami Herald” story that detailed the 28-year-old’s steps for cancer research mission. At that point he was in Delray Beach, Fla., and within the final 200 miles of his goal — Key West, Fla., about as a far as anyone can walk or even drive from Bellingham in the continental United States.

Well before I shot it, I envisioned a photo of Matt walking across the Seven Mile Bridge.
— Andy Newman

Well before I shot it, I envisioned the above photo of Matt walking across the Seven Mile Bridge, the longest of 43 spans that compose the Florida Keys’ Overseas Highway. With a bit of coordination with Matt and a lot of help from Monroe County Sheriff Rick Roth and Deputy Luis Blasco, I positioned myself at the top of the bridge’s highest point as Matt walked toward the camera.

The resulting photograph was used by the Associated Press, Reuters and other news wire services. Two days later, Matt ended his 14-month-long adventure in Key West. Our ace Key West–based account executive Carol Shaughnessy and videographer Steve Panariello of Digital Island Media were with me to chronicle Gregory touching the Southernmost Point marker and then splashing into the Atlantic Ocean to celebrate. The resulting images and footage played in newspapers, Web and broadcast venues around the U.S. and internationally.