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New Life Given to Photos of JFK Damaged on 9/11

By Ruth Dunn on April 16th 2013

Thousands of photographs covering one of the most potent political stories of the 20th century, the rise of JFK, were lost in 9/11. Newseum has recently released a video showing how a determined team of restorers have brought some of these precious photographs back.

As Official Campaign Photographer in the build-up to Kennedy’s bid for President, photographer Jacques Lowe chronicled the rise of JFK on an intimate level, producing a huge body of work surrounding the Kennedy family.

Realising the value of the photographs he produced, Lowe had the negatives stored in a fireproof safe in a bank vault in the World Trade Center. During 9/11 almost all the originals from Lowe’s time with the Kennedys were lost, along with a number of other irreplaceable artworks—but all is not lost.

Lowe stored the contact sheets, which referred to the World Trade Centre negatives, in his studio in another part of New York City. A team of seven image restoration specialists have been working with approximately 1,500 of these contact sheets and prints to remove pen marks, scratches and general wear marks to bring these images back to their original quality. After hundreds of hours of work this team has managed to restore 170 of these photographs for the exhibition “Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe.”

Thanks to this small and determined team, some of Lowe’s precious lost photographs are now seeing the light of day again.

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Ruth is a Brisbane based journalist specialising in articles about visual art, photography, design and fashion. Co-founder of Raw Ink magazine, she enjoys uncovering interesting and unique events, issues and people to write about.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jon Owen

    Great restoration. Is there a plan to restore all the images, or just those needed/wanted for this project?

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  2. Greg Faulkner

    what a shame but good job on restoring some

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