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Four Days
posted: July 10, 2012

I was six years old when JFK was killed and we had this book in my house called Four Days that was compiled by UPI and American Heritage Magazine. I don’t have any recollection of watching the reports of the assassination on TV, but I used to sit down with this book of news photos and look at every detail and try to put the events in some sort of six-year-old-order.
I recently came across a copy of the book in an antique store in Pennsylvania and although I hadn’t looked through it in many years, I remember each page vividly. The whole story of those four days in November seems crazy even today - the open-limo motorcade, Oswald shooting from the sixth floor, his arrest in a movie theater, Jackie’s pink suit with her husband’s blood on it, strip-club owner Jack Ruby shooting Oswald in the jail basement on live TV, the funeral of a President.
I had the book with me on the plane coming home and to pass the time I made some drawings in my sketchbook from the photographs, and when I got home I kept at it. Making sketchbook drawings of news photos that are nearly fifty years old seems like a pretty useless way to spend perfectly valuable time between assignments, but so many photos seemed like they would make good drawings that I just continued.
It got me thinking about the power of these photos and the impact still photography had when I was growing up. Every Tuesday LIFE Magazine arrived in the mail and I’d lie on the floor, look at the pictures of things I didn’t understand and try to figure out what was going on in the world, and I made a lot of sad drawings from photos, mostly of movie stars and sports heroes.We live in a different world now, the 24-hour-news cycle has changed that. There’s no time to stop and stare at frozen pictures taken a week ago and delivered to our mailbox, we need to see everything right away and move on to the next thing, and something’s been lost.




















7 comments
Joe Ciardiello July 10, 2012
Great drawings Paul. I still have a copy of that book from when I was a kid (10 yrs. old at the time) and remember the events of those four days vividly. The first communal experience where television drew the country together.
Rob Sussman July 10, 2012
Presently reading Robert Caro's latest Johnson book, and these, hence, bear a particular resonance. Gorgeous, stark, economic, evocative. Great work.
Victor Juhasz July 10, 2012
Have owned a copy of that book for many years. Great drawings. There's something to be said for your interpretations of the photos. They bring with them an unique editorial commentary. It is remarkable to think, in this age of near police state security, that there was a time when presidents rode in open motorcades and actively moved into crowds to shake hands.
Douglas Fraser July 11, 2012
Paul, the thoughts that you express probably resonate with quite a few people, but just remain guessed at by many. Technology should compliment not dictate. A still image can create quite a bit of space for the eye, and mind. Enjoyed your drawings too.
Greg Clarke July 11, 2012
Your wonderfully evocative interpretations of these iconic photos take me back. I was 4 at the time and remember my father trying to explain what was happening in words I could understand.
Jody Hewgill July 18, 2012
Beautifully designed illustrations, Paul. I love your interpretation of this book. Although I have never seen the original, I feel your series of stark contrasting images fits the time period perfectly.
verlie August 29, 2012
These drawings are amazing. All these scenes are imprinted in my memory too. Thank you for sharing these.
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