Reviews for Capturing Camelot : Stanley Tretick's Iconic Images of the Kennedys

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #2
Don't let the billing fool you. Though Kelley's books (Oprah, 2010, etc.) are often unauthorized biographies heavily resisted by their subjects, this is a labor-of-love collection of work by the photographer she praises as "my best friend…a pal without parallel." First with United Press International and later with Look, Tretick developed his relationship with the first family into his own personal beat. It was the extraordinary access he gained with the wire service that led to the magazine hiring him, assigning him to shoot an amazing 68 different stories on the president and his family before it ceased publication in 1971. Though Kennedy remains known as the first "TV" president, the intimacy and range of these shots (on horseback, wearing a hard hat or an Indian headdress) reminds readers that in the era before the 24/7 cable-news cycle, a still photographer largely captured the public image of the Camelot presidency. Because "[i]mage was paramount to JFK," the relationship that he and his family had with the photographer had plenty of push-and-pull tension; most of the revealing shots here are also the most intimate, the least guarded. Yet, as Jackie Kennedy (who was most protective of her children's public exposure) said to the photographer, "There's a small group of people who really loved Jack, and you're one of them." There may be some shots here that the Kennedys wouldn't have approved (a few that they resented when published and others that they refused to permit Look to publish), but this book is by no means an exposé. It's a tribute to a photographer, a president and a time when the former functioned as the world's eyes into the latter. A pleasant mixture of iconic and surprising shots--a photo book that is ultimately as much about the photographer, and the access he gained, as it is about its subject. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 June #1

Assigned by United Press International to cover John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, Stanley Tretick became friendly enough with the candidate to be given access to the White House once Kennedy was elected. Both iconic and never-before-seen shots, with a text by Tretick's friend, best-selling author Kelley. Big.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 August #3

Tretick's achievement is the masterful construction of legend through careful framing and omission--and teamwork with his subjects. Indeed JFK choreographed much of this work himself. Captions and text by famed biographer Kelley (Oprah: A Biography) tell how the future president worked diligently to delete silliness and emotional excess from the campaign-trail public record, quickly removing an Indian headdress, for example, or avoiding the lens while eating and eschewing overt affection toward his wife. As a result, when JFK's more candid expressions of worry and joy poke through in Tretick's photos, they prove startling still. Photographer and subject figured out early how to surround Kennedy with children, of whom there were plenty. The effort to soften and humanize the president reaches its apex in the famous image of John Jr. playing under his father's Oval Office desk. Indeed, Tretick spoke openly of his desire to accede to "the family's wishes," proudly reproducing thank-you notes from the proto-royals and admitting matriarch Rose's dissatisfaction with a shot of brother Bobby atop NFL star Rosy Grier's shoulders at a rowdy party. The opposite of Goldin and Avedon's warts-and-all images, Tretick's work is a noteworthy example of unapologetically romantic American portraiture. Agent: WSK Management. (Nov.)

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