Jacques Lowe (born Jascha Lülsdorf) was a photographer and publisher best known for his role as U.S. President John F. Kennedy's official photographer during his election campaign and presidency. Lowe was born in Cologne, Germany, on Jan. 24, 1930. He came to New York in 1949 and became an assistant to the photographer Arnold Newman in 1951. Lowe began working as Kennedy's campaign photographer in 1958, and documented the Kennedy administration after his election until 1962. Lowe died at his home in Manhattan on May 12, 2001. Months after his death, approximately 40,000 of Lowe's negatives were destroyed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Jacques Lowe is an internationally renowned photographer and photo journalist who is best known for his portraiture of the leading personalities of our time, nationally and internationally, in politics, business, and the entertainment world.
In 1951, Mr. Lowe was a prize winner in Life
magazine's contest for young photographers, after which Roy Stryker, the grand old man of photography, gave him an eight week assignment in Europe.
Starting in 1953 as a contributor to Jubilee
magazine he won numerous awards for his photo journalistic work among gypsies and other minorities. He went on to contribute to such magazines as Time
, The Saturday Evening Post
, Ladie's Home Journal
, Paris Match
, and many others, and he was a staff photographer at Collier
's Magazine at the time that journal folded.
In 1956, through his work, he befriended Robert F. Kennedy who had been appointed majority counsel to the McClellan Committee. In 1958 Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, who admired his work, asked him to photograph his "other son, Jack."
That 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."
Following his work at the Kennedy White House Lowe returned to his studio in New York where he renewed his magazine, advertising and corporate photography work. His clients ranged from AT&T to Hertz Cars, from DuPont to United Airlines He won numerous gold and silver art director's awards for his commercial work.
Lowe was a 26 year old freelance journalist in 1956 when he was assigned by three magazines within the same week to photograph Chief Counsel Robert Kennedy. They became friends and Lowe soon was invited to spend weekends at Kennedy's Hickory Hill home in Virginia. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. was impressed with Lowe's photographs and requested he photograph his other son 'John'. Although the initial meeting between Lowe and Senator Jack Kennedy was not an auspicious start, the relationship soon changed course due to Lowe's honorable approach to his photographs and he was provided unprecedented access to one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century, as well as members of his family. These legendary images share an intimate view of John F. Kennedy as he was on the intense campaign trail, important moments during the early years of his term as President and family moments with his wife Jackie and his children. The archive comprises over 40,000 images.
Source: Westwood Gallery
What do you do when, as a photographer, you are told your image archive is so precious that it's uninsurable? The answer for Jacques Lowe, whose images helped create the legend of John F Kennedy, 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 and retrieve her father's archive from the twin tower's rubble before they were 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. An exhibition at Proud Chelsea in London is now showcasing these rarities.
Source: The Guardian