The University of Texas, Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History recently acquired the entire photographic archive of Jacques Lowe, a photographer most known for his intimate, photojournalistic portraits of the John F Kennedy and his family. John F Kennedy, often referred to as JFK, was the 35th president of the United States.
UT Austin acquired Lowe’s entire collection of close to 6,000 prints, over 2,000 contact sheets, almost 5,000 negatives, and hundreds of pieces of ephemera, including publications, correspondence, and equipment. The institution has given The Photo Argus permission to showcase some of the prints from the collection below, and we’re ecstatic to share this with our readers.
“The Briscoe Center has amassed the single most significant collection of photojournalism from the latter half of the twentieth century,” said Lawrence Schiller, the renowned photographer and film producer who was instrumental in establishing the Lowe Archive at the center. “Jacques was a photojournalist at heart, and he would be thrilled that his work is now in the company of so many of his fellow photojournalists.” For more information about the collection, see the Briscoe Center Website.
About the Lowe Achieve
“The Lowe Archive is a significant addition to the center’s photojournalism and documentary photography collections,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “It is hard to overstate the importance of Lowe’s work in shaping the public image of the Kennedy family.
However, this collection holds an even greater significance for historical research. Like so many of our photojournalism collections, Lowe’s entire career provides critical visual evidence for the study of the recent past.”
“Jacques Lowe was a wonderful friend to our family,” said Kerry Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s daughter. “His photographs capture the magic of my childhood, and we are grateful for his presence in our lives. He played an essential role in telling the story of the Kennedy family in a
way that people could easily understand. His beautiful images reflect their belief in service to their country, a commitment to peace and justice, compassion for their brothers and sisters, and devotion to family. It is especially fitting that his work is with the Briscoe Center for American
Select images from the Jacques Lowe Collection
About Jaques Lowe
Born in Germany in 1930, Lowe emigrated to the United States after spending World War II in hiding due to his Jewish heritage. After winning a Life magazine contest for young photographers in 1951, he began a career as a photojournalist, working for major print magazines. He met with Robert F. Kennedy during one of his editorial assignments in 1956 and the two became friends. In 1958, Joseph Kennedy Sr. approached Lowe with an offer to photograph the political campaign of his “other son.” That son was John F. Kennedy, and that campaign was JFK’s successful bid for the Presidency in 1960. Lowe served as the president’s personal photographer in 1961 but left that position to return to editorial work. The assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 compelled a grief-stricken Lowe to return to Europe and abandon photography for art direction. He returned to the United States and his photo career in the 1980s, becoming one of the most sought-after portrait photographers of the era. Lowe published more than 40 books and photographed hundreds of celebrities in the arts, the theater, film, politics, and business, including his outstanding series of photos on jazz. Lowe died in 2001.
About the Briscoe Center
As one of the leading historical research centers in the United States, the Briscoe Center’s essential purpose is to collect and preserve primary source material documenting American history for use in teaching and research. The center’s archives, libraries, museums, and historic
buildings are part of The University of Texas at Austin’s commitment to collecting, preserving, and making available the evidence of the past. The center fosters public exploration of history through research services, exhibits, books, public programs, and digital humanities projects inspired by archival holdings.
All photographs © the Estate of Jacques Lowe. Images published with permission from Erin L. Pudy, Director of Communications of The University of Texas at Austin