Life with the Kennedys revealed in photography show

Exhibition of work by Life photographer Mark Shaw shows the Kennedys’ home life as JFK rose from senator to president.

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Powered by article titled “Life with the Kennedys revealed in photography show” was written by Vanessa Thorpe
Arts and media correspondent, for The Observer on Sunday 11th March 2018 05.35 Asia/Kolkata

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.

Jackie, JFK and Caroline on the patio of the family’s Hyannis Port home in 1959.
Jackie, JFK and Caroline on the patio of the family’s Hyannis Port home in 1959. Photograph: © Mark Shaw /

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.

The Kennedys together during JFK’s presidential campaign in 1959.
The Kennedys together during JFK’s presidential campaign in 1959. Photograph: © Mark Shaw / © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).

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