John F. Kennedy at work in the Oval Office, January
— An exhibition of 77 photographs of John F. Kennedy’s
life, ranging from his early life to his assassination,
has opened to the public at the Smithsonian American Art
to the current resident of the White House’s first 100
days in office, "If you really want to look at the
(first) 100 days, he didn’t have it that easy,"
said the exhibition’s curator, Lawrence Schiller,
pointing to the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.
release of "American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s
Life and Times" celebrates the 100th anniversary of
the late president’s birth on May 29.
a photojournalist who photographed the Kennedys and Lee
Harvey Oswald, didn’t want any of the photographs in the
show to be blown up beyond the size at which they were
seen by people in the 1960s.
for the artifacts in the show, "Every single piece in
there was bought on eBay," he said. "That is
really the interesting thing, eBay gives you history. And
the magazines are less expensive now than they were in the
covers with Kennedy on the cover from Newsweek, The
Atlantic, Look, and The Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine,
among others, are displayed, as well as newspapers like
The New York Times and an edition of TV Guide with
Jacqueline Kennedy on the cover.
exhibition "covers a unique moment in American
history," as it was a "golden era of
photojournalism," Schiller said.
added that up to that time, no politician was photographed
more than Kennedy and photojournalists didn’t hide their
"admiration" for him.
first room includes photographs of Kennedy’s early life
and his time in Congress. Schiller said the photographs
capture the late president as he learned about how he
should be viewed by the public eye.
second room includes photographs of Kennedy on the
campaign trail, on Election Night and at his inauguration.
had a pretty good crowd himself," Schiller said,
joking about the contention from Donald Trump’s White
House about the size of his inauguration crowd vs. Barack
third room includes photographs of Kennedy’s presidency,
which shows him as a family man. Schiller pointed out that
he brought his young children to live in the White House
upon moving in.
last photographs in the room were five scenes from Kennedy’s
felt less is more," Schiller said. "How do you
tell this story in the simplest way?"
exhibition, which opened last Wednesday, is based off a
book co-edited by scholars Douglas Brinkley and Stephen
Kennedy Smith, which Schiller collaborated on. Smith is a
former Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations committee
book features almost 600 photographs. He said in creating
the book and exhibition, he went through 34,000 images.
the nephew of JFK, saw Schiller’s book before release
and requested only that he change the last photograph to
one of the president on the beach alone, with which
exhibition runs in D.C. through Sept. 17.