Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sweet Memory

The photographer's place in the theater environment is to not intrude, not tell anyone how to do a job, never call attention to oneself. Document and mind your own business. That's the work ethic. Accepting that, you'll understand this sweet memory.

It was 1969, my first full ROSENKAVALIER coverage at the Met. I was working on the left aisle, a very comfortable spot for documenting this production. Before Act III began, Sir Rudolf Bing, the then General Manager, came over and said, "The police Commissioner will not be in costume". I was stunned, not because of the costume alert, but because Sir Rudolf himself delivered this information. Normally a press officer would deliver the information. Besides, no photographer with any brain will photograph someone obviously out of costume during a final dress. The act came and went. As I was packing up Sir Rudolf reappeared and asked, "Was everything okay?" I know I answered, "Yes, thank you", but what I was feeling was that this was exceptional. What a gentleman! He didn't have to speak to me. He didn't have to care. I'm sure he never even knew my name though our paths crossed many times after that. It was a human nicety that I have never forgotten.

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