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Monday 23 October 2017

Kennedy images saved from 9/11

Election time: At Bobby Kennedy's house where they sat for almost an hour in front of the television, waiting for the votes from one of the big states to come in that would push Jack over the line.
Election time: At Bobby Kennedy's house where they sat for almost an hour in front of the television, waiting for the votes from one of the big states to come in that would push Jack over the line.

The best images from a priceless collection of Kennedy pictures lost in the World Trade Centre attack have now been brought to life again from contact sheets stored elsewhere and from printed publications.

The pictures are the work of Jacques Lowe who was a 28-year-old photo-journalist when he met JFK. Lowe (1930–2001) was born in Germany and, after a wartime childhood spent in hiding because of his mother's Jewish origins, emigrated to the US. He met Robert Kennedy in 1956 and two years later was introduced to the future president.

He became the official photographer of JFK's campaign for the presidency in 1960 and was subsequently personal photographer to the president.

For five years he had close access to Kennedy, taking thousands of photographs – including shots of JFK on the campaign trail, in the White House during the Cuban missile crisis, talking with world leaders and enjoying intimate moments with Jackie.

Lowe entrusted his photographic archive – stored in a vault in the World Trade Centre – to his daughter, Thomasina.

All 40,000 negatives were reduced to ashes on 9/11, but Thomasina made it her mission to restore her father's work. Using the latest technology, all the best images were scanned from other sources and the contact sheets were enlarged.

The result of this work, together with Jacques Lowe's memories of the time taken from recordings he made, has now been published as a photographic book My Kennedy Years – A Memoir, Thames & Hudson, £25.

Irish Independent

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