© Rosalie Thorne McKenna Foundation; Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona Foundation
by Rollie McKenna
bromide print, May 1953
13 1/8 in. x 10 3/8 in. (333 mm x 262 mm) paper size; 12 3/4 in. x 10 in. (323 mm x 253 mm) image size
Given by Rosalie Thorne McKenna Foundation, 2011
Linked publicationsback to top
- 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 82 Read entry
Rollie McKenna (1918-2003) recalled that as she photographed the Welsh poet and writer Dylan Thomas (1914-53) during rehearsals for the first performance of his play for voices, Under Milk Wood, he urged the actors to ‘Love the words. Love the words!’ McKenna’s portrait reveals an astounding energy, and established this pose as a defining one. She remembered that an hour before taking this photograph, Thomas had been extremely unwell, yet he gathered the strength to direct his cast for three hours. He wrote Under Milk Wood over several years, and frantically reworked it in the last months of his life. This photograph is part of a significant portfolio of work by McKenna, one of the most important photographers of American and British modern poets.
Placesback to top
- Place made and portrayed: United States (rehearsals for the first performance of 'Under Milk Wood', Poetry Center, New York)
Events of 1953back to top
Current affairsA combination of low pressure in the North Sea, hurricane force winds, and high tides result in the Great Flood of 1953. With no warning system many were trapped in their homes as 20-foot waves crashed on the coast; hundreds were killed at sea and on the east coast.
John Hunt's British Expedition conquers Everest. News of the achievement reached Britain on the day of Elizabeth's coronation.
Art and scienceFrances Crick and James Watson discover the double helix structure of DNA. Uncovering DNA's chemical make-up revolutionised our understanding of the building blocks of life.
Ian Fleming publishes his first James Bond novel, Casino Royal.
Chad Varah founds 'The Samaritans' helpline.
InternationalJoseph Stalin dies four days after suffering a stroke. It has been suggested that Stalin was assassinated, as he was denied medical assistance for over a day after he was found; many suspect that he was poisoned. On his death Georgy Malenkov became leader of the Soviet Union.
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