Edition 2006


JFK for President

“I met him when I joined Magnum. He’s been unfailingly dedicated to preserving the memory of his brother Robert, but he’s also a great photographer in his own right.I’d seen his first pictures in Life, especially those of the 1960 campaign, the one with Kennedy’s hands at the top of the picture and all the others reaching up from below. For me that’s an iconic image of political campaigns and maybe it was that photo that made me fall in love with political photography. It’s such a pleasure for me to present these pictures, these absolutely marvellous early Kodachromes of America in the 1960s.”
Raymond Depardon

JFK for President
In March 1960, while covering the Wisconsin primary campaign for a Life photo-essay on the nature of American politics, Cornell Capa first encountered Senator John F. Kennedy. Although Capa began the campaign season a staunch Adlai Stevenson supporter, having closely covered Stevenson’s 1952 and 1956 presidential bids, his enthusiasm for the young senator gradually grew as he came to see how much excitement Kennedy was able to generate, especially among young people. In July, Life sent Capa to Los Angeles to cover the Democratic National Convention. After Kennedy won the nomination, Capa followed the campaign throughout the election season, capturing such quintessentially American political displays as the official launch of the campaign on Labor Day, a whistle-stop tour through California in early September, and a Manhattan ticker-tape parade in October. Capa’s photographs of Kennedy’s campaign are alternately iconic and idiosyncratic, often revealing much more about the candidate than a straightforward portrait could. Some of the most powerful are those in which Kennedy is outside of the camera’s view: his disembodied hands reaching into an adoring crowd of upturned faces, or his handwritten speech notes on a podium, viewed over his shoulder. Other images reveal the levity and exube-rance of the campaign, such as a pregnant Jackie Kennedy standing in the back of a convertible, laughing through a shower of confetti. Capa did not focus on getting the dependable, newsworthy shot, but on approaching Kennedy, and the larger subject of American electoral politics, with curiosity and wit. Attending Kennedy’s inauguration ceremony in January 1961, Capa was struck by the new president’s speech; the inspirational tone and adventurous spirit reminded Capa of the beginning of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt presidency, when this President confronted daunting challenges and accomplished great things during his first hundred days. Capa decided to produce a book on the first hundred days of the Kennedy presidency and enlisted eight fellow Magnum photographers (among them Elliott Erwitt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Burt Glinn) and seven writers and historians in his effort. That book, Let Us Begin: The First 100 Days of the Kennedy Administration, often cited as the first topical photojournalistic book, came out on day 110, and Time magazine called it “instant history.” Though the book was touted at the time for its immediacy, Capa’s behind-the-scenes photographs at the White House remain compelling as an intimate portrait of the early days of the Kennedy administration. Those images, as well as the many others, reveal Capa’s unique feel for his subject and his distinctive insight and humor. Kristen Lubben & Richard Whelan, exhibition co-curators.

With the support of The American Consulate General in Marseille.Exhibition organised by the International Center of Photography, New York.This exhibition was made possible with lead gifts from the Alex Hillman Family Foundation, Stephanie and Fred Shuman, Bicky and George Kellner, Tony and Dominique Milbank, Ethel & Irvin Edelman Foundation, Estanne Abraham Fawer, Linda Hackett for C. A. L. Foundation, Lynne and Harold Honickman, The Liman Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Ted Nierenberg, Ronny Schwartz, Marshall Sonenshine and Sonenshine Pastor & Co., and Lester Wunderman. Additional support was provided by Eastman Kodak Company, Norman H. Gershman, Peter Howe, Herbert Keppler, Arthur and Dolores Kiriacon, Mara Vishniac Kohn, Magnum Photos New York, Magnum Photos Tokyo, Mamiya-MacGroup, Nikon Inc., Susan Unterberg, Claire and Richard Yaffa, and Lois and Bruce Zenkel.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture