Somewhere in my stack of old Modern Photography magazines is the interview I did with Bill Eppridge, part of the "Back to the Darkroom" special that we published (and I edited) in 1988. It was an ambitious feature: I got Life Magazine's famous darkroom technicians to reprint some of the toughest negatives they'd ever come across while I took notes--and then I interviewed each of the photographers about how they shot the pictures. The photos were Alfred Eisenstaedt's nighttime portrait of a Paris hooker under a street lamp, Carl Mydans' photo of brightly-lit (and overexposed) shot of Chinese men sitting at a cafe, and Bill Eppridge's photo of the assasination of Bobby Kennedy.
When I sat with Eppridge in his Time Life office that day, I saw a man who was clearly haunted by the assasination of a young man who he clearly admired, at the time 20 years before. He spoke of how there were no secret service agents, a single body guard, and how the plan was to leave the victory speach and head in one direction, but JFK abruptly changed his mind and took a different route to the service elevator, leaving the small protective wedge of photographers behind him and walking right towards his fate.
Now, 40 years after the Kennedy assasination, Bill Eppridge has published A Time It Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties, which includes the complete account of that night in June when a crazed Palestinian gunned JFK down and ended hope for so many Americans. The book has many photos that have never been seen before, as well as more extensive personal accounts of the photographer's interaction with the young presidential candidate. And for those of you who wonder "what if...", Eppridge talks about how Kennedy told him he would pull the US out of Vietnam his first day in office. How many died under Nixon's watch?