There is no question that this vertical photo of Rita Hayworth resonates vibrantly with the cognoscenti of the genre. This photo has appeared in many incarnations in the publishing industry, the film industry, the advertising industry and Hollywood entertainment industry since its creation by Ned Scott 65 years ago during his assignments for Columbia Pictures dance extravaganza "Down To Earth". It may be the single most responsible item in the development of Rita Hayworth as the silver screen "Love Goddess" made famous by Winthrop Sargeant's article which appeared in the November 10, 1947 issue of Life Magazine entitled "The Cult of The Love Goddess in America". At least it is the most recognizable. What is not generally known about this photograph is that it has a twin. In addition to this fact, Ned Scott modified one of the two images specifically to his taste when he printed the negative for his own collection in 11 x 14 format. In effect, therefore there are three incarnations which build around the same image, each with its own distinct feel. This is the most common version seen:
Ned Scott preferred the other image which he shuttered in sequence with this one. The orders he gave to Rita were very subtle, but nonetheless important for mood enhancement. She tilts her head very slightly to her left, thus creating a full shadow across her chest from the neck down. Her right shoulder slides to the corner, creating a more harmonious form. Her smile is only just a hint larger, and this exposes more of her teeth. There is a perfect triangle in the center of the frame formed by her smile and both eyes:
Ned Scott was a disciple of form, and these small changes made all the difference. Suddenly the spontaneity of the casual look over the shoulder is sharpened, greatly adding to the mystique of Rita the Love Goddess. But Ned Scott did not stop there. For his own collection, he modified this image by enlarging it just a little and and tilting the image ever so slightly to the right. Her right shoulder is now perfectly centered in the left corner of the frame, and her head fills the frame more completely. This is a more dominant statement of the image. In all likelihood, this is the only such configuration of this image which exists worldwide. (To see other photos of Rita Hayworth, go here).
Rita'a onstage persona was that of a dancer and a movie actress. Her mystique, however, emerged after having been transfigured by her public life into "an important religious institution" according to Sargeant. In real life she was just another pretty girl with a good, but demanding job; but in the minds of her fans and moviegoers, she was Aphrodite incarnate.