Fifty years after his assassination John F. Kennedy is still a towering figure in the history of our times and across the world. The young Senator from Massachusetts, elected President in 1960, embodied the hopes of a generation who were attracted by his open and relaxed style. One of the creators of that image was the photographer Jacques Lowe, who first met Kennedy in 1958 and quickly established a rapport with him. For the next five years, Lowe had privileged access to the Kennedy family and was not only the official photographer of Kennedy’s campaign for the presidency but also his personal photographer following his election.
Lowe’s skills as a photographer were abundantly demonstrated by how much at ease the President and other members of the family were in the presence of his camera. Gathered in this book are over 250 images that capture the personal and political life of this almost mythic figure: at home with Jackie and daughter Caroline, on the campaign trail, politicking behind the scenes at the convention, at work in the White House and as a leader on the world stage, culminating in his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, mourned by millions.
The photographs are complemented by Lowe’s personal record of his friendship with the Kennedy clan and his years at the heart of American politics. Jacques Lowe died in May 2001, and the first-person recollections have been made possible by the discovery of several unpublished interviews and oral histories that he took part in before his death, as well as drawing on the memories of his daughter Thomasina.
In 1999, Jacques Lowe placed his archive of 40,000 Kennedy negatives in a safe-deposit box in a vault at Five World Trade Center. They were all destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers but fortunately contact sheets and several prints – some published here for the first time – survive. They provide a unique record of one of the most enduringly fascinating politicians of the modern era.