The Image that Caught JFK’s Assassination

Photograph/ Mary Krahmer. Image Source/ Wikipedia

Photograph/ Mary Krahmer. Image Source/ Wikipedia

The story was originally published in July 2014.

American President John F Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 2, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, United States. Mary Krahmer, a homemaker, was standing about five meters away from the President’s limousine with a friend. The duo wanted to catch a glimpse of the President’s wife, Jackie Kennedy. Krahmer shot this image with her Polaroid camera, a fraction of a second after the first fatal shot was fired. It is the only image to have been photographed at the precise moment that he was shot.

When asked what she saw through the viewfinder, Krahmer said that she thought that it was only a gust of wind that lifted Kennedy’s hair up. At the time, however, she was oblivious of the fact that she was a witness to the President’s assassination. “I saw his hair jump. But it wasn’t just his hair, it was part of his head,” said Krahmer. “That is so clear in my mind, to this day.”

This is also the only known photograph to capture JFK as well as the infamous grassy knoll in the background. Investigators and conspiracy theorists have examined this image innumerable times—to check if the people present on the knoll were Oswald’s accomplices. However, they later came to the conclusion that Oswald acted alone.

In November 2013, Krahmer’s photograph was put up for auction but failed to sell. To commemorate 50 years since Kennedy’s death, the International Center of Photography held an exhibition, JFK November 22, 1963: A Bystander’s View of History where this photograph was exhibited.

Tags: better photography, july, photojournalism, history, The Story Behind the Picture, 2014, JFK, John F Kennedy, American politics, Assassination, iconic photo, historical image