Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bobby Kennedy near the Vanishing Point

Bobby: near the vanishing point
Shortly before he died, Bobby Kennedy was photographed (May 24, 1968) alone on an Oregon beach with his dog close by. The photograph was taken by Bill Eppridge. It made the cover of Life magazine the following month.

Kennedy has his back to us in full flight. He’s neither running to something nor away. He’s cradled in ghostly aspic, protected for the moment.

Already he is outdistancing Freckles the dog, who will soon weary of the sun and sea and sit and watch as the man thins into the blue surf and sky.

Notice that Kennedy’s feet no longer touch the ground: they no longer need the ground. The tide has already buried his footprints.

The next time we see him (June 6, 1968), once again through the lens of Bill Eppridge, he is in a coma on the floor of a kitchen in the Ambassador Hotel, a bullet in his brain, and he’s struggling to lift his head but already he's alone.

It’s obvious to me that the two photographs are out of order.

Somehow Bill’s camera has slipped a sprocket and the last image we should see, that we must remember, is that of a spirit ascending. So that’s the way I play it.

Reverse the order...
Time can be so arrogant. It remains for us to make patterns that make sense to the soul. Einstein said that hours and minutes are more flexible than warm rubber. In the Big House, there are no clocks.

For Bobby Kennedy is still on the beach, but it's far from Oregon, near the Vanishing Point, where clouds sail.