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RFK funeral train / A breaking up

Paul Fusco - So-long Bobby

The New York Times recent­ly ran some pho­tos that were tak­en from the train car­ry­ing Bob­by Kennedy's body between Wash­ing­ton to New York. The pho­tos them­selves are amaz­ing doc­u­ments of a nation in mourn­ing, peo­ple from all walks of life lin­ing the tracks, hold­ing signs, salut­ing or just watch­ing, but they're also beau­ti­ful — sat­u­rat­ed and blurred, cre­at­ing the sen­sa­tion that things are mov­ing too fast, that some­thing is irre­sistibly bar­rel­ing on. The pho­tog­ra­ph­er, Paul Fus­co, nar­rates a slideshow on the New York Times site, and it's well worth a view­ing. He's nice­ly describes the expe­ri­ence around the pho­tos, and pro­vides some insight into the mechan­ics (Kodachrome film, of course). He also men­tions that he hadn't planned on tak­ing pic­tures while on the train; he was sim­ply trav­el­ing along with the cof­fin to take pho­tos at the funer­al.

The first thing I saw were hun­dreds of peo­ple on the plat­form … For­tu­nate­ly, I just react­ed. My instinct was: There's some­thing going on, pho­to­graph it … [The train] was a mov­ing plat­form. I couldn't change my view. I couldn't change my per­spec­tive. I had to just … grab it, when I could.

Paul Fusco - Family salutes"Every­one was there. Amer­i­ca came out to mourn." Pho­tos: Paul Fusco/Magnum Pho­tos

Fus­co has a show that's cur­rent­ly at Danziger Project in New York, and a book com­ing out in the fall, too. Looks nice.