Friday, January 21, 2005

The True Story Behind that Famous JFK Photograph

JFK photoPublic radio host Christopher Lydon, referring to the famous photo of JFK leaning over his Oval Office desk with his head down, told a story of how the photo was actually taken. NY Times photographer George Tames went to the White House, scheduled to take an official photo of President Kennedy. He arrived at the Oval Office, finding JFK leaning against his desk. Because of the president's back injury, he found it more comfortable to stand over his desk and lean down, putting the weight on his shoulders so he could do things like reading the paper. At that particular moment, JFK was reading the NY Times op-ed page, in particular a column by Arthur Krock. Tames immediately snapped two pictures, then went over to the president.

JFK then turned to Tames and said, "I wonder where Mr. Krock gets all the crap he puts in this horsesh*t column of his."

The story got a good laugh from the conference participants. Lydon concluded the story by asking what it would have been like if blogging had existed at the time the photograph was taken. Would more people today know the true story of how the picture was taken?, he wondered aloud.

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian website.


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