On the bow of the Queen Mary, 1962

In 1959, I went to Berlin on a one year German Government Grant and stayed until 1968. My grant was extended to three years under the auspices of the German Academic Exchange (Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst) because in 1960, I became an active conductor in the Herbert von Karajan Conducting course for two years. I also became a pro photographer along with my music studies, opening a photo studio with a talented young German photographer, Wolfgang Prinz. At the end of the 1961-62 school year, I had free passage back to the US from my grant, so I returned to NYC for a business visit.

One the way back to Europe, I sailed on the Queen Mary, in order to take more possessions. On the ship I met some Americans with the military, two of which were super-photogenic and afraid of nothing. On a stormy day, when there was little exciting to do, we went out on the deck for some adventure taking photos. There was a sign warning that it is forbidden to go forward towards the bow. Of course, that was the first thing they wanted to do. So we went straight to the tip of the bow and they posed for me right there, in the fabulous wind and spray. It was miraculously exhilarating and this photo, a large  blowup of which was exhibited in more than one exhibition, was the result.

The seeming total spontaneity of the scene belies the fact that everything about it was precisely and carefully posed. To me, something about those guys, their looks, their naturalness, their guilelessness, determination, dignity and nobility represents the best of the American spirit. I saw it in them and waited days until I had the perfect opportunity to capture it.


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