On Sept. 29, the Newseum is bringing back one of its most popular exhibits, “Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe.” After a successful run in 2013, the exhibit returns to the Newseum as part of a yearlong celebration of the centennial of Kennedy’s birth, spearheaded by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the National Archives and Records Administration. The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 7, 2018.
To celebrate the exhibit opening, the Newseum will host a special program Sept. 28 with Eric Draper, chief photographer for President George W. Bush, and Callie Shell, chief photographer for Vice President Al Gore and photographer for President Barack Obama during his campaign and first 100 days in office. Moderated by Kenneth Walsh, White House correspondent for the U.S. News & World Report, this program will explore how these photographers shaped the legacies of the presidents they covered.
“Creating Camelot” showcases more than 70 intimate and iconic images of President Kennedy, first Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and their children, Caroline and John, taken by Kennedy’s personal photographer, Jacques Lowe.
Lowe’s photographs of the Kennedys helped create the legend of the Kennedy presidency known as “Camelot.” His extraordinary access to Kennedy’s private and public life allowed him to capture events that others could not. Lowe’s photos document Kennedy’s rise to power, from his 1958 Senate re-election campaign to the White House, along with intimate scenes of the Kennedys at home. The exhibit also explores how Lowe’s images were used in the news media.
The original negatives of nearly all of the 70 images displayed in “Creating Camelot” were lost in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Lowe, who died in May 2001, had stored the negatives of more than 40,000 Kennedy photos in a World Trade Center bank vault. All of the negatives in the vault were lost, with the exception of 10 negatives out on loan at the time.
To create the exhibit, Newseum imaging technicians digitally scanned the surviving contact sheets and prints, which were never meant to be used in place of negatives for printmaking. The technicians spent more than 600 hours working to remove scratches, dust and other blemishes from the images. The restoration work created a comprehensive digital archive of Lowe’s Kennedy photographs and enables the Newseum to exhibit the photos at a resolution and size at which they had never before been seen.
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