Photo Gallery: The Power of Elections
David Hume Kennerly
Senator Robert F. Kennedy Campaigning in Portland, Oregon, 1966
On assignment for the Oregon Journal during the 1966 Congressional campaign, nineteen-year-old David Hume Kennerly grabbed the trench coat of famous Life magazine photographer Bill Eppridge and fought his way to the podium through a sea of people. Incumbents Edith Green and Robert Duncan were staging a rally in the Portland labor hall, and they had landed a big-name speaker to turn out their supporters: U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy. "This was really the first influential person I've ever shot," Kennerly says. "This shot was the turning point in my career."
This photo shows Kennedy in his element, capturing his listeners with handwritten notes. "The people were so mesmerized by what he was saying," recalls Kennerly. "I was mesmerized. He had such a charismatic, appealing personality." After this rally, Kennedy and his staff left for the airport where the photographers took some last-minute shots of him waving to the crowd. "As the plane flew away," says Kennerly, "all I remember thinking is: ‘One of these days, I'm going to be on that plane.'" The spirit of this Oregon campaign ignited Kennerly's passion for photographing politics behind the scenes.
David Hume Kennerly's career spans more than forty years, seven U.S. presidents, and assignments in more than 130 countries. His photographic archive includes more than one million images. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his coverage of the Vietnam War, and his photos have appeared on more than thirty-five covers for Time and Newsweek magazines.