A Vision of History

Photojournalist Lawrence Schiller, JFK, and NMSG

Lawrence Schiller has photographed everyone from Clint Eastwood to Timothy Leary, including memorable shots of cultural and historical icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Joe Dimaggio, Lee Harvey Oswald, Barbra Streisand, Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Nixon, Robert F. Kennedy, Paul Newman, and the Jackson 5. His work has appeared in publications from Playboy to the Saturday Evening Post, he is the author of various books on contemporary culture, and he has been involved in the production of numerous well-known film projects. Now his photography is prominently featured in a new book and exhibit commemorating the centennial of President John F. Kennedy’s birth on May 29.

imageThe book, JFK: A Vision for America, edited by JFK’s nephew Stephen Kennedy Smith and historian Douglas Brinkley, was published by HarperCollins with production by NMSG, working closely with Mr. Schiller and his designer, Daniel Panadero, to meet their exacting standards. The result is a comprehensive reference of the Kennedy years that incorporates the late president’s major speeches with commentary by such people as historians David McCullough and Henry Louis Gates Jr., Senator Elizabeth Warren, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and writers Gloria Steinem and Dave Eggers (books written by both of them have also been composed by NMSG). Hundreds of photographs appear throughout the text, many of which have not been widely seen until now.

Mr. Schiller graciously included in the book an acknowledgment of NMSG staff who worked on the project, as well as his personal thanks. In addition, Mr. Schiller and the production staff received the following note of thanks from Stephen Kennedy Smith:

Fantastic work, everyone. I think this book is a great tribute to President Kennedy and am very grateful for all your help. We hope [it] will have a positive impact on the country at this important time.

The book is being released in conjunction with an exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Washington, D.C., in cooperation with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and curated by Mr. Schiller. Entitled “American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times,” the exhibit constitutes a timeline of the significant events of Kennedy’s administration and his life, revealing the political, historical, and cultural influence he had.

A reception to kick off the exhibit was held on May 2 at the museum. Representing NMSG were Vice President Vicky Dawes, Director of Sales Lainey Wolfe, Director of Prepress Dennis Bicksler, and the composition director of the companion book, Nancy McGaha, who joined celebrity guests including Caroline Kennedy, journalist Tom Brokaw, author Gay Talese, Senator John McCain, Representative John Lewis, singers Aaron Neville and Mavis Staples, and the editors of the companion book, Stephen Kennedy Smith and Douglas Brinkley, as well as Mr. Schiller.

The exhibit runs from May 3 to September 17, 2017. The museum will present a JFK Gallery Talk with Lawrence Schiller on Thursday, September 7, which is open to the public. The book is available now from the museum store and other book retailers.