As the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination nears, a new exhibit at Endicott College reminds visitors how much was lost that tragic day in 1963.
“The exhibit will really bring people back to that time of hope in America,” said Kathleen Moore, coordinator of visual arts and gallery director at Endicott. “I hope people come and enjoy the exhibit and take something back with them — a piece of hope that seems to be missing right now.”
“Capturing Camelot: Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the Kennedys” opened earlier this month and will be at the Heftler Visiting Artist Gallery until Friday, Dec. 20.
Tretick, who died in 2011, photographed Kennedy on the campaign trail in 1960 for United Press International and later took candid photos of the president and his children in the White House. These appeared in Look magazine and were used in the book “Capturing Camelot” by Kitty Kelley. Kelley, who was a friend of Tretick, will be at the gallery on Thursday, Nov. 21, for a reception and presentation.
“If you read the book, Kelley talks about how (Tretick) was able to make his way into specific situations where no one else was allowed,” Moore said. “There’s a lot of back story to all of the images. Within the exhibit, there will be a lot of narrative along with each piece.”
Take, for example, the famous photo of John Kennedy Jr., then 21/2, playing under the president’s desk. Tretick shot it while Jacqueline Kennedy was vacationing in Greece.
While his wife wanted to limit her children’s exposure in the press, the president thought Tretick’s photos helped him project a positive public image, according to Moore.
But the image of John-John playing in the Oval Office, taken in 1963, was simply heartbreaking when it appeared in Look shortly after Kennedy was killed.
The exhibit, which is open to the public, should prove informative to students in several disciplines at the college, including photography and history, Moore said.
“The technique Stanley Tretick uses was very dramatic for the time,” she said. “He was a photojournalist. He was trying to capture images that would tell a story and bring forth emotions.”
Moore was a little girl when Kennedy was shot and remembers the intense feelings displayed by her family and friends, without understanding what was going on.
She first came to appreciate the Kennedy era through the photographs in this exhibit.
“As time went on with Look, the images were so dramatic — those became precious to me, as well as whatever my mom had in the house,” Moore said.
The exhibit will include several Look magazine covers to suggest the original context in which the photos appeared.
Moore also arranged with National Exhibitions & Archives, which organized the show, to use some photos that weren’t in either the magazine or Kelley’s book.
Whether visitors are encountering these images for the first time or recalling the period when they were first published, Moore hopes everyone will appreciate the feeling they suggest.
“I do want people to be transported back into time when Camelot was a vision, and to what it meant,” she said. “Especially to people in Massachusetts.”
If you go
What: “Capturing Camelot: Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the Kennedys”
Where: Manninen Center for the Arts, Endicott College, 376 Hale St., Beverly
When: Through Dec. 20. Gallery hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays, 2 to 4 p.m.
Related event: Kitty Kelley, author of “Camelot Captured,” at reception, lecture on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 5 p.m.
More information: www.endicott.edu or www.facebook.com/artsendicott.