A young freelance photographer named Alfred Wertheimer was hired in 1956 to travel with Elvis Presley to document the performer’s first national tour.
Alfred tells in an interview by By Jess Righthand how he got to take this photo of Elvis kissing the young lady: “I go down the stairs of the theater… There’s a silhouette of two people at the far end, and I say, “Oh yes, there’s Elvis, with a girl, his date for the day.” Do I interrupt them? Do I squeeze off a frame or two from a distance or do I go closer in? …
So now I’m not satisfied, typically. I’m not satisfied with what? I’m not satisfied with back lighting. I want front lighting. But the only way to get front lighting is to go beyond where they are. So I put on my best maintenance man voice and say, “Excuse me, coming through.” I squeeze past the two of them. Again they don’t pay attention to me because they’re like hypnotizing each other. I’m now set on the landing facing the two of them, and I’m setting myself with the frame. It’s a fairly decent composition, and I’m waiting for something to happen within my frame. She says to him: “Elvis, I’ll betcha can’t kiss me,” and she sticks out her tongue just a teeny bit. And he says, “I’ll betcha I can,” in a very masculine, cool way. And he then approaches the kiss, he’s got his tongue stuck out just a wee bit, and he overshoots the mark. I didn’t realize that till I developed my film later on. He bent her nose, you see, a very romantic view. So now he backs off coolly, and tries it a second time, comes in for a perfect landing, and that’s the end of that. That tenth of a second became history. “
Source: Read all the interview on Smithsonian.com
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