When I saw the New York Times Politics Blog today (10/16/08) featuring a photograph of (l. to r.) John McCain, Cardinal Egan, and Barack Obama at the Al Smith dinner in NYC, it reminded me of another Al Smith Dinner in 1960 with John Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Cardinal Spellman.
I was working on my political project (See: American Politicians /MOMA /1994/Susan Kismaric/Page 34) and was conscious that the two candidates would be together at this event, so I was there. As they emerged from behind the palms with Cardinal Spellman, a newsreel photographer hit his light just as I pressed my shutter button. (Overexposed indeed!!!) But with a three-minute printing exposure, I got a print and found that I really liked the image..without the cardinal. Sometimes you have to crop to tell the story better. I took the print to LOOK magazine, my favourite venue for political work. I got an immediate YES!!, but often a YES gets flipped to a NO. Pat Carbine called to tell me that someone had seen the print on Ben Wickersham’s desk (He was the photo editor) and thought it was a photo of Nixon laid out in his casket! Look at the image sideways, and you will see why. So, that’s the story of how this picture didn’t get published.
The print is available through any of the galleries that show my work.