A Life In Photography – by Edward Steichen 1984 (PDF Download)

The first time I saw Lillian Gish, other than on the movie screen, was as she walked into my studio to be photographed for Vanity Fair. As the saying goes, I was knocked for a loop. It was as if an angel had come into the place. Every movement she made and everything she said seemed full of magic. I made pictures fast and wildly and believed they were all wonderful. But that night, when I looked at the negatives, even before seeing the proofs, I realized I didn’t have anything at all. I had allowed my emotional reaction to take charge of that sitting and had lost all charge of myself. This was a valuable lesson, but a very embarrassing one, for I had to go to Miss Gish with the proofs and beg her to come and sit again for me. She was very gracious about my chagrin. When she came again, I decided to do a fanciful version of Romola, a romantic role she was planning to undertake. I put flowers in her hair and then let her own sweetness and youngness take over (plate 116).

A life in photography

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