Paul Fusco was born in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1930. He received his B.F.A. in photojournalism from Ohio University and went directly to work for Look magazine as a staff photographer and traveled extensively in South East Asia, Mexico, India, Europe and Russia. In 1974 he joined Magnum Photos.
This series focuses on the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968. Kennedy's body was flown to New York City for a memorial service at St. Patrick's Cathedral and then carried by train from New York to Washington D.C. for burial at Arlington. On board the train was the Magnum photographer Paul Fusco, then a young photographer on assignment for LOOK Magazine. As the train made its progress down the eastern seaboard, hundreds of thousands of mourners came out to line the railway tracks and pay their final respects to Bobby Kennedy and all he stood for.
From inside the train, Fusco began to take pictures of the mourners – people from every section of society – black, white, rich, poor, in large 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.
The resulting images are one of the most powerful and affecting series of photographs ever taken. Shot on Kodachrome film – a film with a particularly vibrant palette favored at the time by photojournalists – Fusco's pictures blend the spontaneous look of snapshots with 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 the indomitability of the American spirit.
His work has appeared in publications such as LIFE, Time, Newsweek, The Sunday Times and Paris Match. He has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.. Most recently, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquired six of the RFK Funeral Train photographs.Download PDF