Cape Cod Times

May 10, 2018

Jacques Lowe’s iconic photos of President John F. Kennedy and his family helped create the mystique of “Camelot” and 70 are part of a new exhibit in Hyannis.

During the years from 1958 to 1961, photographer Jacques Lowe had unprecedented access to President John F. Kennedy and his family, according to John H. Allen, executive director of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis museum. During that time, Lowe took more than 40,000 photographs of the family on Cape Cod, in Washington, D.C. and abroad.

Lowe’s iconic photos in large part created the mystique of “Camelot,” says Allen, whose museum will on Tuesday open the “Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photographs of Jacques Lowe” exhibit that will be on display through Dec. 1.

The term “Camelot” to describe the Kennedy years came from First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in an interview she did in Hyannis Port, a few days after the president’s death, with Theodore White for a story he wrote for Life magazine. In White’s story, “Jackie” quoted a line from “Camelot,” a favorite song of her husband’s from the musical of the same name: “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot – and it will never be that way again,” she said.

White concluded his story by noting that they were the words of a grieving widow who wanted to make sure her husband’s legacy of service to his country would never be forgotten. Even though the term came from Jackie, a preview of the exhibit using that name shows that Lowe’s photographs capture the beauty, grace and service of the Kennedy era in a way that invokes her sentiment.