On the 40th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination at the Ambassador Hotel, one of the people who followed his campaign closely will be honoring the moment.
Jim Hubbard, creative director at Venice Arts, photographed Kennedy while campaigning in Indiana a month before his death. These photographs will be on display through June 30 at the Universal Art Gallery, 2001 Lincoln Blvd., Venice. An opening reception will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 5, on the 40th anniversary of Bobby Kennedy’s death.
Hubbard got an early start in photography as a copyboy for a Detroit newspaper, when he would watch the photographers on assignment.
“I was 21 and coming out of a life of delinquency when I got the job, just running errands for the reporters, but I liked to observe the photographers, who were always chasing in and out of the building,” Hubbard says. “One of the photographers offered to transfer me to their department, and I loved it.”
After several of his photographs were published, Hubbard went to work for smaller bi-daily and bi-weekly papers. The experience he gained allowed him to rejoin the Detroit newspaper as a staff photographer, where he stayed for a year before joining United Press International for 16 years.
During this time he covered between ten to 15 campaigns, including Bobby Kennedy’s campaign.
“I traveled with him for a week, covering his campaign,” he says.
“I would leave the Detroit paper and cover the campaign on my own time, and they would use my photos for the campaign.”
During Hubbard’s time at UPI, he worked in Washington, D.C. in the 1980s, where he covered the White House, traveled with Ronald Reagan on Air Force One, covered the Wounded Knee Siege, Munich Olympics and traveled through Africa.
“I worked non-stop covering hardcore stories, to prove I would do anything with my camera,” he says.
“People took notice and I was able to cover politics, (Richard) Nixon, (Jimmy) Carter, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, but my favorite photos were of Bobby.”
Before Robert Kennedy’s assassination, Hubbard says, the campaigns were open and accessible.
“They didn’t start protecting the candidates until Bobby was killed, and it made covering campaigns much less fun and much more controlled.”
His work led him to pioneer programs on homelessness, poverty and drug problems. He developed “Shooting Back,” a program where children were given cameras to document their own world.
“The program led me to work with hundreds of children, and for the last 20 years I’ve been working mostly with youth,” he says.
His last major piece for LIFE Magazine was on Alzheimer’s disease, taken in Venice, and ran in Los Angeles Times Magazine in October 2000. He recently taught a class at the University of Southern California and has been continuing on his projects in Africa.
Information on the exhibit, (310) 302-8909.
Information on Jim Hubbard, www.jimhubbardphotography. com/.