Stan Stearns: An Eye on History
Updated: Friday, November 22 2013, 08:25 PM EST
The iconic image of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting at his father’s funeral 50 years ago was taken by a UPI photographer. In the late 1990’s FOX45 News tracked him down and found him working in a commercial photo business in Annapolis.
On the 50th anniversary of the assassination, FOX45 shared some of the exclusive interview.
In 1999 photographer Stan Stearns sat down with FOX45 to share is story, which included JFK’s funeral. Stearns recalls, “After covering Jackie for three years…I had a sixth sense something might happen.”
Stearns was armed with a Nikon and a telephoto lens. Stearns recalls one of the most memorable photographed-moments in United States history saying, “As they walked down the steps the caisson pulled up, the National Anthem started to play…she bent down…whispered in his ear, the hand went up.”
The zoomed in photo Stearns took became an iconic part of United States photographic-history. The next day, the photo made the front page of newspapers around the world.
Other photographers captured the moment, from other angles, but not as close or as clear.
Stearns says the tabloid versions of what happened in that moment infuriate him. Stearns recalls, “This man or his son are claiming…that he could see Jacqueline Kennedy and read her lips as she said to salute. Well there’s no way, from that camera angle, he could see her face.”
Less than a week after the funeral, Stearns took exclusive photos of the Kennedy children at a toy store. The photos clearly depict a mother trying to help her children cope with their father’s loss.
Later in life, Stearns ran a studio in Annapolis where his work lined the wall with images he was proud of right until his death at 77 in March 2012.
Stearns’ career included covering the White House thru the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administration.