Bill Eppridge and myself in the lobby of the hotel. Who is Bill Eppridge? He’s the LIFE Magazine photographer who shot the photograph of Robert Kennedy after being shot by Sirhan Sirhan in Los Angeles. Eppridge explained in a session how he covered Robert Kennedy on the campaign trail and what happened when he made the incredible assasination photo. Eppridge is pretty gruff but he’s a straight shooter as he doesn’t water down how he feels about stuff.
The assasination changed him. He was assigned to cover Hubert Humphrey’s campaign after that, but his heart wasn’t into it, as he kept looking over his shoulder and into crowds, still haunted by the assasination. He has never covered politics since then. Today he still shoots for National Geographic and Sports Illustrated.
Listening to him speak was like listening to John Stewart talk about the media today. Eppridge said the media isn’t doing their job, they’re just doing a terrible job of covering politics and he said that’s why we have what we have in the White House today for another four yeas. Obviously not a fan of Dubya.
Eppridge said Robert Kennedy had told him and a reporter many times that when he became president the first thing he was going to do was to pull out of Vietnam. Instead Kennedy was assasinated and Richard Nixon ended up in the White House. Eppridge points out that thousands of U.S. servicemen were killed after the elections, thousands of north and south Vietnamese soldiers and civillans were killed. All those lives would have been spared had the assasination not occured. The death of one man ended up costing the deaths of tens of thousands.
I had a chance to talk with him just before this photo was taken about the media today, who was doing it right and who was doing it wrong. He thought almost all TV, most magazines, with the exception of National Geographic, and just a few newspapers like the New York Times, another paper in Wyoming and another in Florida were doing it right. He claims we shouldn’t be objective, we should take a stand. He had a lot to say and I won’t post it all here, if you want to know just ask me.