I had been a photographer for about a year, yearbook photographer, had taken a few basketball pictures, and John Kennedy comes to Salt Lake City on a little visit. And my mom and I, she was always involved politics, local, we decided to go and see the president. We get down there and she’s standing in line where at the little vestibule when you come through that rotating doors, and he walks in, shakes a few hands, walks right by me.
I couldn’t really even get my camera up to see, so I juts, I figured I had a Vemar 135mm f2.8 on my Pentax, so I just put it on infinity, and it was like from here into the back wall of the, of the store. Anyway, I get home, develop the film, I look at it, and I wouldn’t learn this phrase until later, but the French have a way of looking at a picture like this, which is “sous-ex, flou, et bougé” - underexposed, blurry, and out of focus.
Well, I mean I was so pissed off that I didn’t have a sharp picture of him. Now I’m looking at it forty years later, and thinking - “you know, it’s not so much blurry, as it is interpreting his dynamic, sense and youthfulness, and it isn’t really out of focus, but it’s kind of an artistic way of playing with energy of the dynamic and president”. Before long I had convinced myself that was a great picture. Well, may be not a great picture, but it was one I could show.
from this video.
JFK’s picture at the David Burnett’s site.
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