On June 6, 1968, in the midst of his campaign to be president of the United States, Robert F. Kennedy died from an assassin’s bullet. Two days later, after a funeral mass in New York City, his casket was placed on a special train bound for Arlington National Cemetery. A journey that should have taken hours took all day, as thousands of Americans lined the 225 miles of track in a spontaneous outpouring of grief. Paul Fusco was the only journalist on the train, and he ended up taking more than a thousand pictures from his window. These images can be seen in the Aperture publication Paul Fusco: RFK.
Now on the 43rd anniversary of the event, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Stoddart brings Fusco’s images to life. Personal stories are told by Fusco, and RFK’s then-press secretary, as well as by the people who appeared in Fusco’s images, recalling the emotional impact of Kennedy’s assassination on the country. The film also includes video and audio clips of Bobby Kennedy speaking so eloquently and passionately about his hopes and dreams for the country.
Watching the documentary was a moving experience for an American like me, who lived through those sad and rocky moments in America’s history. And once again, I am reminded of the power of photography to capture a mood and feeling, and how a multimedia presentation like this documentary can serve to intensify the meaning of almost each and every image.
The documentary film, ONE THOUSAND PICTURES: RFK’S LAST JOURNEY, airs on Wednesday, June 8 at 8 p.m. ET. And tonight, Monday, June 6 at 6:30, Paul Fusco and filmmaker Jennifer Stoddart will host an artist’s talk and book signing at the Aperture Gallery and Bookstore in Chelsea. 547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor.
The trailer for this film can also be viewed at HBO.