It was meant to be merely a slightly expanded edition of an out-of-print classic of photojournalism, Paul Fusco’s RFK Funeral Train, first published in September 2000 by Umbrage Editions. Fusco, a photographer for Look magazine in the 1960s, had been assigned to ride the train carrying the body of Robert F. Kennedy from New York City to Washington, D.C., for burial, on June 8, 1968. Only one of Fusco’s photographs from that day, when mourners all along the Northeast train corridor assembled at trackside to pay their respects, appeared in Look; dozens more were included in the Umbrage edition, which Aperture decided to update with a few others taken from the photographer’s own collection. Publication was set for this June, the 40th anniversary of Kennedy’s death. But all that changed when Lesley Martin, Aperture’s publisher, while researching another project at the Library of Congress, followed up on Fusco’s contention that the Look archives located there might contain a few more of the images he had taken during eight continuous hours of shooting on that dark Saturday 40 years ago.
There they were,” Martin tells PW, “in pristine condition having been in cold storage for the past 30 years. Paul had mentioned that there were ‘some’ images at the Library of Congress, so in good conscience and due diligence, I checked it out.” Martin was amazed to find a trove of more than 1,800 Kodachrome slides. The problem was that Martin’s find occurred in December, and the spring title was already in proofs. “It was a big decision to pull back the book. But Paul’s body of work on that single day—already so unique, impressionistic, emotionally powerful—was so much more.” The new book, retitled Paul Fusco: RFK ($50), will now be published in September, in a first run currently set at 10,000 copies. Included are essays by Evan Thomas, Norman Mailer and photography scholar Vicki Goldberg.
Check it out here.