Ruth Bernhard, born in 1905 and died 2006, was a towering photographic talent in a small and lively package. In the early 1980’s she gave a presentation about photography and I still hear her words, “To do it justice, you have to love your subject.”
Specifically about this image, she commented on how fascinated she was by the tremendous length of the models leg from ankle to knee. What an insight in a few words into the kind of attention she paid in order to make this photograph.
Listen to what the maker of this image says about the interaction involved: “As we approached the lodging, I timidly asked if I could take her picture. She replied, “yes, but make it snappy.” I stopped the car, grabbed my camera, leaned over the car hood and as I got into position, she leaned forward, crossed her hands under her chin and looked through the rain-drenched windshield, right into my eyes, as if she knew what the results would be.”
For more, see this great tribute.