Jacques Lowe (American, b. 1930—2001)
Through his work, Jacques Lowe befriended Robert F. Kennedy in 1956 after he had been appointed majority counsel to the McClellan Committee. In 1958 Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, who admired his work, asked Lowe to photograph his "other son, Jack."
The assignment led to his becoming the Official Campaign Photographer of John F. Kennedy's quest for the presidency and, when elected, the personal photographer of President Kennedy. Although offered the White House Photographer's job Lowe declined, but the president asked him to "stick around and record my administration. Don't worry, I'll make it worth your while."
His work for the campaign, the Kennedy White House, and the Kennedy family has resulted in six books, numerous exhibitions from the USA to Moscow, several prime-time television shows, and some 150 major magazine pieces and covers. Reviewers have credited Lowe's "natural, warm, and intimate images of the president and his family and the workings of the presidency with keeping alive the Kennedy flame for generations yet to come."
Jacques Lowe's work helped create the legend of John F Kennedy and was considered so precious it was uninsurable. The solution to his dilemma was to store them in JP Morgan's seemingly impregnable vault in Tower 5 of New York's World Trade Center. But then 9/11 came, and his life's work went with it.
After the terror attack, Jacques Lowe's daughter, Thomasina, campaigned to try to retrieve her father's archive from the twin towers' rubble before it was razed. Amazingly, the safe in which they were stored was found intact, but the contents – over 40,000 negatives – were reduced to ash. All was not completely lost though, as 1,500 of Lowe's contact sheets were located elsewhere in New York. From these, selected images were painstakingly restored for an exhibition at the Newseum in Washington DC. A collection of prints from the original negatives were also made by the photographer himself, prior to his death four months before 9/11.