Bill Eppridge, one of the greats of the golden era of photojournalism, has died, aged 75.
Eppridge is probably best known for this picture of the aftermath of the assassination of United States Presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy, who was slain at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968, while on the campaign trail.
As panic ensued among Kennedy’s staff, a hotel worker moved to somehow comfort the already dead man and Eppridge framed and shot the image, which was wired around the world.
He was later asked how he could keep taking pictures as Kennedy lay dead on the ground and explained that part of the role of the photojournalist is to record history.
Argentinian born Eppridge was a staff photographer at Life Magazine, where he’d worked for four years by the time this shot was taken.
In those days, the media, and publications like Life in particular, was given unfettered access to people like Kennedy and warts and all images taken by photographers like Eppridge were eagerly awaited by the hundreds of serious publications around the world who would run them uncensored.
These days, things are so much different. Even if a savvy news photographer manages to get an image like Eppridge’s, the likelihood of today’s timid press actually using it is slimmer than a dieting supermodel.
And so Eppridge is, literally, one of a dying breed of journalists whose work informed on, and sometimes changed, the world.
Bill Epridge died on October 3 in hospital in Connecticut, where he was being treated for a blood infection caused by a fall.
In tribute to him, Life is running much of Eppridge’s work on its website, including his poignant photo essay of a drug-addicted couple in 1960s New York.