Within this poignant collection, Shaw chronicles the golden years of the Kennedy family as John F. Kennedy progressed from the role of Senator to his early presidency. The exhibition marks the 55th anniversary of JFK’s harrowing assassination, shining a new light onto America’s most loved First Family before the tragic events that followed.
Mark Shaw began his professional photographic career in New York City, capturing the notable celebrities of the 1950’s for Harper’s Bazaar and other major fashion publications. He built a reputation as a fashion and portrait photographer and freelanced for LIFE, shooting over 27 covers and more than 100 stories during his time at the magazine. Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Pablo Picasso and Brigitte Bardot were just a number of distinguished figures Shaw captured within his short yet remarkable career.
In 1959, Shaw was commissioned to shoot what would become his most memorable photographs; intimate portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy as her husband Senator John F. Kennedy was running his Presidential campaign. Over time he built a strong rapport with the family and became entrusted as the Kennedys’ unofficial photographer. Shaw documented ‘The American Royals’ at the White House and at their holiday home in Hyannis Port, producing his much loved photographs of the family in both official and candid settings. His close friendship revealed an unparalleled insight into their intriguing domestic life.
The exhibition includes JFK’s favourite portrait of himself, an introspective image of John wistfully walking into the landscape with his back turned, amongst other depictions of self-reflectivity. These quiet moments are contrasted with loving connections between mother and child, regal portraits of the celebrated couple and a playful image of Jackie leaning out of the family sailing boat clutching Shaw’s camera. The settings of Shaw's pictures vary from vacation retreats to the White House, but in each photograph the sense of optimism in the American Dream is present.
Images courtesy of Proud Galleries © Mark Shaw / mptvimages.com