Marian Anderson (left) speaks with Grace Kelly at the Crystal Ball at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as Kelly’s husband Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, looks on
This photograph was the subject of an exchange in the forthcoming exhibition catalogue between Ron Tarver, instructor of studio art, with an emphasis on photography, at Swarthmore College and retired Philadelphia Inquirer staff photographer, and Don Camp, former Philadelphia Bulletin staff photographer and professor emeritus at Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania:
TARVER: In this photograph you have to fill the room with light. That’s why you have harsh shadows. Nowadays the way you get around that is that the flashes tilt up so you bounce the light off of the ceiling and the walls to fill the room, like playing billiards with light.
VALERIO: But wouldn’t that have to be a more formal setup?
TARVER: No, if his camera had a handle he could have taken the bulb off, held it up, and bounced the light so that it went up and came down and gave you a more natural setting.
CAMP: It would be more like the sun. Compositionally it bothers me because of the way the camera is positioned. They’re on a stage. He’s on the floor and he couldn’t get in a better position, so he was like this is where I have to get the photograph from. It’s a necessary shot. Rainier adds another interest to me but it’s an accidental interest.
TARVER: He’s working with what he has. Nowadays you have a camera with a zoom so you can get further back and zoom in so it won’t be so tilted and I can bounce my flash, all sorts of corrections can be made to make a more aesthetically pleasing image than this.
VALERIO: I suppose one of the other things that I like about it besides the Prince Rainier looking over from the shadows is the distortion: he’s shooting them from below and they become these looming figures. If it was a profile of Grace Kelly and Marian Anderson smiling at each other it would be less interesting.
TARVER: I don’t think he was looking at this to make them these monumental characters. I think he was looking at this like he has to get this picture and this is where it was. And he succeeded in getting that moment where they’re both smiling.
VALERIO: I think the success is the emotional connection between the two figures. YMCA.
Dear Mr. Valerio, My husband and I are Woodmere members and thoroughly enjoyed the Mosley Exhibition during a visit yesterday. However, I think a case of mistaken identity has occurred regarding the gentleman in the photo of Princess Grace and Marian Anderson. I do not know who he is (a policeman or security agent, perhaps?), but I am fairly certain it is not Prince Ranier, who had a rounder face and sported a mustache. Also, this was a formal ball and the gentleman in the photo is not wearing a tuxedo. Another photographer's photos of the event are on the Internet (Erich Hartmann) and they show a photo of Prince Ranier at the Crystal Ball in a tuxedo speaking to Jack Kelly, Princess Grace's brother. Please see the photos at http://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&STID=2K7O3RL4W36. I would be interested in your thoughts regarding this matter after viewing Mr. Hartmann's photos. Thank you for the wonderful work you and your staff do at the Woodmere! It is truly a gem of a museum! Kind regards, Ramona SalottiRamona Salotti