The Digital Journalist
Dennis Brack
When President Jimmy Carter visited this cemetery in Normandy, France, he paid his respects as a brawl between the Carter pool and the French photographers raged about six feet from him - no one got any usable photographs out of the scene. The Reagan team was determined to do it right, and they did. They asked the photographers for their help and were told that the best photograph would be of the Reagans walking through the field of crosses rather than laying the wreath. The limo was going to stop right at the grave of FDR's son and the advance staff knew that President Reagan would not walk out and around to be in the right position for this photograph. Then a clever advance person had a great idea: Why not give the president two wreaths to lay? The first would be on a grave way back in the crosses which would create a path to exactly where the Reagans would walk, forming the perfect composition for the photo, and the second set of roses for the Roosevelt grave. The Reagans had to be alone to make the photograph work, but normally there would be at least three Secret Service men close to the Reagans. This would not do, so the advance staff cut a deal. For just the matter of a few seconds, the Secret Service would drop back or walk ahead to clear the frame. I think that there is an agent on every side of this image, but not in the image. Finally, add a little height, to give the field of crosses some depth and the right composition. When the pool arrived, there was a neat, small stand from which to shoot, in exactly the right place. The Reagans did it right.