New York photographer Mark Shaw began his career capturing the images of stars such Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn for Life magazine, but the back catalogue he left on his death in 1969 at the age of 47 is best known for the candid glimpse it offers into the home life of the Kennedys.
Now Shaw’s photographs of President John F Kennedy’s family, taken both at the White House and at their summer retreat at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, are to go on show at the Proud Central gallery near the Strand in London. Chronicling the charismatic couple at the heart of a presidential court that became known as Camelot, Shaw’s historic shots were taken over the period in which Kennedy ascended from the role of senator to president. Among the key photographs on show will be JFK’s favourite portrait of himself, as well as shots of Jackie playing with her children. One of the most striking images shows Jackie leaning out of the family sailing boat clutching Shaw’s camera.
The photographer became a close friend of the family after he was commissioned to take a series of casual studies of Jacqueline during the presidential campaign of 1959.
Following Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Shaw was so affected he distanced himself from photography. On Shaw’s death his photos were put in storage and unseen for more than 40 years until Shaw’s son and his wife founded The Mark Shaw Photographic Archive in 1996 and his pictures were republished in a book.
Life with the Kennedys: Photographs by Mark Shaw at Proud Central runs from 22nd March – 6th May 2018.
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