An Evening With The Kennedys
Where, When & Why
Proud Central // March 2018 // Launch party of Life with the Kennedys: Photographs by Mark Shaw
In my first cosmos lecture at Cardiff University, Professor Davis told us we were not astrologers, we were time travellers. While spending my time travelling as much as work and funds allow, I'm not sure immersing myself in a collection of mid-late 20th century photography was exactly what he had in mind.
Nevertheless, when the wonderful team at Proud Central invited me along to their private launch event for "Life with the Kennedys: Photographs by Mark Shaw" there was not a chance I was declining.
Two things drew me in: a love of American history developed in Miss Wisdom's GCSE history class back in the day, and the family road trip we took from New York to Cape Cod at least twice. Jumping into this event brought back a tidal wave of nostalgia and passion for that subject which I'd allowed to lay dormant for far too long.
Proud Central's collection showcases The Kennedy's Golden Years from Senator to early Presidency, as captured by renowned LIFE photojournalist and film-maker Mark Shaw (1921 - 1969).
Walking the collection, tequila & pink lemonade in hand, a definite optimism for the American Dream & wanderlust aplenty shine through every piece of this poignant exhibition marking the 55th anniversary of his assassination.
Aficionados of the era will be thrilled by the intimate look into the life & love shared during ceremonial and candid moments making America's first 'Royal Family' human and relatable. Sure, he had a turbulent tenure where brilliant things were marred & mixed with fairly terrible decisions, and this collection reminds you of the human behind the celebrity.
Seeing how the Kennedys spent quality time together at the beach and on the water instantly took me back to similar (although less famously documented) moments. How handy that this takes me almost seamlessly into a mini guide to Cape Cod.
The exhibition runs from 22nd March 2018 – 6th May 2018, Monday to Saturday: 10am till 7pm & Sunday: 10am till 6pm. It's completely free to visit and I strongly recommend heading downstairs to Proud Gallery's permanent photography collection showcasing iconic imagery from the 50's & 60's. It might be only rock n roll, but I really bloody like it.
The evening reinvigorated my love of American history, to the extent 'The Kennedys: Photographs by Mark Shaw' (£45) now resides on my ever bursting bookshelf. This gorgeous coffee table book depicts a microscopic view of America's first Royal Family's life, and is available at the gallery when you visit or online from reelartpress.com.
Cape Cod: A Love Letter
Getting away from busy cities and the stresses of life is so easy in Massachusetts and Cape Cod will forever be my go-to. The picture perfect peninsula is not only full of incandescent natural beauty, whimsical beaches that transport you to another time, and quaint All-American towns, it realises the photographs of the Kennedys as seen in this exhibition and history books.
Overlooking Nantucket Sound on the south side of the peninsula is Hyannis Port; home to the Kennedy Compound (this isn't open to the public but it is possible to catch a glimpse of the building), JFK Memorial Statue & JFK Museum. A postcard town to the end, Hyannis Port boasts traditional Main Street eateries, watering holes and shoppes plus one hell of an ocean-view, but then that's true of Cape Cod as a whole.
Follow Main Street due east long enough and before you hit the Atlantic you'll reach Chatham where wildlife reserves and a stunning 19th century lighthouse are the dish of the day. We continued up to Truro, a dreamy settlement where we lay our heads in the beach-side Sand Bars Inn. This simple & friendly establishment offers a cosy home-from-home vibe like no where else I can recall - even if your home isn't anywhere near the seaside.
Head a little further up the tip of the Cape's peninsula and you'll soon be met by Provincetown. A town famous for its LGBTQ community and killer whale watching trips. Dolphin Fleet is different to other commercial fleets as trips are led by oceanographers; science nerds rejoice because not only will you get (respectably) up close with humpback whales, mola mola, dolphins and other inhabitants of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, you're educated on environmental matters.