This year, New York art dealer James Danziger presents a solo show of “Paul Fusco’s RFK Funeral Train Re-Discovered” photographs. Since their rediscovery in 1998, Paul Fusco’s RFK Funeral Train pictures have been recognized as one of the greatest photo essays in photography. Taken on the train that carried Robert Kennedy’s body from New York to Washington, where he was to be buried next to his brother at Arlington Cemetery, they present a picture of America in all its complexity and diversity as well as a universal picture of the human spirit. But as photographs taken in 1968 they prefigure several movements in photography – the shift to color, the snapshot aesthetic, and seriality.
Fusco was not the only photographer on the train, but remarkably he was the only one who documented what was unfolding outside as hundreds of thousands of mourners lined the rails to pay their final respects to Bobby Kennedy and all he stood for.
It was Saturday, June 8, and a swelteringly hot day. From inside his carriage, Fusco put his camera to his eye and never put it down. Outside were people from every section of society – black, white, rich, poor, in groups and on their own. By Fusco’s own calculation, he took approximately 2,000 pictures in the eight hours it took for the train to make the usually four-hour journey.
Shot on Kodachrome – a film with a particularly vibrant palette – Fusco’s pictures blend the spontaneity of photojournalism with the artistic precision of the decisive moment. Each photograph carries its own weight and tells its own story, but cumulatively the series is an epic vision of American dreams dashed and of the indomitability of the American spirit.
Paul Fusco – James Danziger Gallery, Booth B5
At Paris Photo 2016
November 10 to 13, 2016