Presidential hopefuls burn bright, then fade. Poll numbers rise and fall. Presidents pass the torch, administrations change. Through it all, one constant remains: The Associated Press coverage of the American president. The Sixth Floor Museum
at Dealey Plaza highlights the work of the news bureaus presidential photographers in a special exhibit, The American President: Photographs from the Archives of The Associated Press, on display August 18 October 27, 2013. The exhibit is one of many ongoing programs and events the Museum is presenting in commemoration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of President Kennedys assassination in November.
Drawn from AP Images vast photo archive, The American President features 71 photographs both black and white and color taken by Associated Press photographers over a 100-year span. Included are seven images of President Kennedy, from his arrival at the Democratic National Convention in 1960 to his flag-draped coffin in the U.S. Capitol rotunda. A highlight includes Paul Vathis Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of President Kennedy conferring gravely with his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, at Camp David after the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
Associated Press reporters have been the dominant source of presidential news for media across the U.S. and around the world for more than 150 years, and since launching its WirePhoto service in 1935, the AP has been no less committed to photographic coverage of the president and the White House. AP photographers accompany the president everywhere and their images range from routine photo ops to breaking news that dominates front pages, broadcasts and websites. The traveling exhibit shows American presidents at war and at ease, at victory and in defeat, confronting national crises and facing personal scandals, running for office and leading the country on the world stage.
Through their lenses, succeeding generations of AP photodogs have captured both the ecstasy and agony of the American Presidency, and contributed in important ways to the historical record of each administration, writes former President George H.W. Bush in the exhibits introduction.
For the journalists of the worlds oldest and largest news agency, the mandate of covering the White House remains the same as it was in Lincolns day: be accurate, be fair, and be fast. For photographers, who can never catch up to a missed opportunity, it means always keeping your eye on the president.
The American President exhibit has been touring universities, libraries and museums across the United States since early 2012. Some of the exhibits previous stops have included the University of Tennessee, New Yorks Federal Hall and the Jimmy Carter Library in Atlanta.