About Jacques

Jacques Lowe

Jacques Lowe is an internationally renowned photographer and photo journalist who is best known for his portraiture of the leading personalities of our time, nationally and internationally, in politics, business, and the entertainment world.

In 1951, Mr. Lowe was a prize winner in LIFE magazine's contest for young photographers, after which Roy Stryker, the grand old man of photography, gave him an eight week assignment in Europe.

Jacques Lowe and JFK in the Oval Office, February 1962

Starting in 1953 as a contributor to JUBILEE magazine he won numerous awards for his photo journalistic work among gypsies and other minorities.

He went on to contribute to such magazines as TIME, LIFE, LOOK, The Saturday Evening Post, Ladie's Home Journal, Paris Match, Epoca, Stern, and many others, and he was a staff photographer at Collier's Magazine at the time that journal folded.

In 1956, through his work, he befriended Robert F. Kennedy who had been appointed majority counsel to the McClellan Committee. In 1958 Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, who admired his work, asked him to photograph his "other son, Jack."

JFK and Jacques Lowe on the campaign trail, Fall of 1960

That assignment led to his becoming the Official Campaign Photographer of John F. Kennedy's quest for the presidency and, when elected, the personal photographer of President Kennedy. Although offered the White House Photographer's job Lowe declined, but the president asked him to "stick around and record my administration. Don't worry, I'll make it worth your while."

His work for the campaign, the Kennedy White House, and the Kennedy family has resulted in six books, numerous exhibitions from the USA to Moscow, several prime time television shows, and some 150 major magazine pieces and covers. Reviewers have credited Lowe's "natural, warm, and intimate images of the president and his family and the workings of the presidency with keeping alive the Kennedy flame for generations yet to come."

Jacques Lowe and Jacques Henri Lartigue at one of Lowe's Paris exhibitions.

Following his work at the Kennedy White House Lowe returned to his studio in New York where he renewed his magazine, advertising and corporate photography work. His clients ranged from AT&T to Hertz Cars, from DuPont to United Airlines He won numerous gold and silver art director's awards for his commercial work.

In 1968, following the assassination of his friend Bobby Kennedy, Lowe sold his very successful studio and moved to France. "I couldn't deal with these tragedies anymore," Lowe says "I had to get out." He stayed for eighteen years, during which time he more or less gave up photography.

Jacques Lowe and Bryant Gumbel, host of the Today Show after one of Lowe's appearances. The Kennedy Library, Boston Massachusetts, 1993

Returning to New York, Lowe again turned to photography with a passion. His assignments ranged from the New York Times Sunday Magazine to People, InStyle, and George. He extended his work to television, contributing to many documentaries on ABC, NBC, CBS, and many cable programs. He produced a forty minute video for PBS on the Kennedy Years, and is currently working on a major video series about jazz.

As a book packager he has produced a twelve volume series of children's books on art for Hyperion/Disney Looking at Paintings (John Russell in his review in the NY Times called it "an exquisite walk through a small museum"), a children's series on photography for Chronicle books, and a highly acclaimed book of Jazz portraits, Jazz: Photographs of the Masters.

He has published over thirty books, including volumes about London's financial center, "The City," Pope John Paul II's travels to South America, Pilgrimage, Persepolis, the fabled city in Iran and Kentucky a loving view of that state. His book on children What Kids Do... came out in 1998.

Jacques Lowe with Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and U.S. Ambassador to France Felix Rohatyn at UNESCO headquarters. Paris, July 1998.

Lowe also dedicates his talent and time to a great deal of pro bono work. In 1992 he went to Somalia for CARE, reporting on that country's tragic disintegration, a dangerous assignment. His work there received wide television coverage. He has contributed an exhibit, "A Tribute to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis" to the Leukemia Society of America to help raise capital to start the "Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Lymphoma Research Fund."

The exhibit opened at Union Station in Washington, D.C. in September of 1995 and has so far traveled to some twenty­seven cities. The exhibit has raised nearly $3,000,000. The exhibit will be permanently housed at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas as of President's Day 2000.

Two further Jacqueline Kennedy exhibits are currently travelling throughout the United States. Mr. Lowe has had major exhibits in Paris (Month of Photography, 1990), Moscow (Hall of Journalism, 1991), Lausanne (Musée de L'Elysée 1992), the Museum of Modern Art, NY (American Politicians, 1994, a groupshow), in Lille, France, 1996 and Brussels, Belgium, 1996.

Jacques Lowe with Quincy Jones. Bel Air, CA 1997

On June 11, 1998 Jacques Lowe mounted a major exhibit, 160 photographs, at UNESCO's Paris headquarters. It was opened by Ambassador Felix Rohatyn, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. This was the first time that an American official set foot on to UNESCO headquarters in seventeen years. The exhibit is slated to travel throughout Europe and the world for the rest of the coming decade and in the year 2000 the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art will mount an exhibit of Mr. Lowe's Jazz Photography.

In September of 1997, Mr. Lowe mounted his first gallery exhibit in New York at the LEICA Gallery, NY (all other exhibits had been mounted in public places). The exhibit was repeated at the Govinda Gallery in Washington, DC, the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica, CA, the Gallery for Fine Photography in New Orleans, and the Fotofusion Gallery in Del Ray, Florida, all in 1998. In 1999, he mounted a Jazz exhibit at the Westwood Gallery in Soho, New York. Further gallery exhibits are planned for the year 2000.

Lowe's work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Elysée Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, the European Center of Photography in Paris, the Kennedy Library Museum in Boston, the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas, as well as in hundreds of private and institutional collections.

Jacques Lowe with Soviet Foreign Minister Edouard Sherbanadze at the opening of Lowe's Moscow exhibit, 1991

He has won numerous awards from Art Director's Clubs, the Urban League, and other human rights organizations. In 1998, he was honored with the Crystal Eagle Award for Impact on Photo Journalism, a lifetime achievement award granted by the School of Journalism, University of Missouri and the Eastman Kodak Company. It was only the fourth time the award has been granted.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. , in writing about Mr. Lowe's Kennedy work, said that "...Jacques Lowe was monumentally self-effacing. This, I believe, is why his camera caught so much human truth. There are no orchestrated 'photo-opportunities here..." Instead of rising to an imperious lens like fish to a lure, people went about their business and remained their natural selves... and he has done all this as a historian, not as a press agent... Contrary to the myth, Kennedy wasted no time fabricating images.He was a relaxed man, secure and imperturbable, who gambled on himself and felt no need for hype. In Jacques Lowe he found the photographer who gave the natural rhythms of the Kennedy White House enduring form."

Exhibitions by Jacques Lowe/Museums and Public Spaces

1984Musée de L'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
1990Month of Photography, Paris, France
Centre Photographique Ville de Paris, Pompidou Center
1991The Hall of Journalism, Moscow, Soviet Union
1994Museum of Modern Art, New York, Group Show
1995Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., Group Show
1996Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, A Tribute opened at Union Station, Washington, D.C. in September, 1996. All proceeds were to benefit the Leukemia Society of America. The exhibit has since traveled to 29 cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Boston, Denver, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Palm Beach. The exhibit has raised close to three million dollars to aid non-hodgkins lyphoma research. The exhibit will be permanently installed at the Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas, Texas on President's Day 2000.
1996American Festival, City Hall, Lille, France
1997Flemish Museum, Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium
1998UNESCO Paris, An American Dream, UNESCO headquarters.
1998Newseum, Washington, D.C. In connection with the photographer's Crystal Eagle Impact on Photo Journalism Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award given by the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Kodak.
2000An American Dream, Athens, Greece
An American Dream, London, England
An American Dream, Berlin, Germany

Permanent Collections

  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Musée de L'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Centre Europeen de la Photographie, Paris, France
  • The Kennedy Library Musuem, Boston, Massachusetts
  • The Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas, Texas


1997Leica Gallery, New York
1998Peter Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica, California
1998A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans, Louisiana
1998The Palm Beach Photographic Center, Del Ray, Florida
1998Govinda Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1999Westwood Gallery, Soho, NY