Mary Ann Moorman was born Mary Ann Boshart. She married Donald G. Moorman in 1952 and divorced him in 1973. She later married Gary Krahmer in 1980.
On November 22, 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
Moorman was standing on grass about 2 feet (61 cm) south of the south curb of Elm Street in Dealey Plaza, directly across from the grassy knoll and the North Pergola concrete structure that Abraham Zapruder and his assistant Marilyn Sitzman were standing on, during the assassination. Moorman stated that she stepped off the grass onto the street to take her Polaroid photo. Zapruder is seen standing on the pergola in the Moorman photograph, with the presidential limousine already having passed through the line of sight between Zapruder and Moorman.
She and her friend, Jean Hill, can be clearly seen in many frames of the Zapruder film. Between Zapruder film frames Z-315 and 316, Moorman took a Polaroid photograph, her fifth that day, showing the presidential limousine with the grassy knoll area in the background.
Moorman's photograph captured the fatal head shot which killed President Kennedy. When she took it – approximately one sixth of a second after President Kennedy was struck in the head at frame Z-313 – Moorman was standing behind and to the left of President Kennedy, about 15 feet (5 m) from the presidential limousine. Moorman said in a TV interview immediately after the assassination that there were three or four shots close together, that shots were still being fired after the fatal head shot, and that she was in the line of fire. She later stated in a 2013 PBS documentary Kennedy Half Century that she was close enough to hear Jackie Kennedy exclaim that John had been shot.
In 2013, Moorman attempted to sell the original polaroid through Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati. The photo was expected to sell between $50,000 and $75,000, but did not meet its reserve. She had previously attempted to sell the item at Sotheby's in New York, but the auction house deemed it "too sensitive to auction". That same year, she expressed her opinion on the assassination; she was convinced that Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy. "I really don’t know what exactly happened, but I do know there is bound to be a lot more to the story that hasn't been told," she said. "I was hoping it would come out in my lifetime, but who knows. So much has been hidden by the government; anything can take place and it can be hidden. Oswald probably wasn't a lone person, he probably had backers. I really do think it was a conspiracy," she said.
What was captured in the background of the photo has been a matter of contentious debate. On the grassy knoll, some claim to have identified as many as four different figures, while others dismiss these indistinct images as trees or shadows. Most often a figure is identified as the "Badge Man" because it supposedly resembles a uniformed police officer. Others claim to see Gordon Arnold, a man who claimed to have filmed the assassination from that area, a man in a construction hard hat, and a hatted man behind the picket fence.
Moorman stated she heard a shot as the limousine passed her, then heard another two shots, "pow pow," when the president's head exploded. She stated that she could not determine where the shots came from, and that she saw no one in the area that appeared to have possibly been the assassin. Moorman was interviewed by the Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the FBI. She was called by the Warren Commission to testify, but due to a sprained ankle, she was unable to be questioned. She was never contacted by them again.