Photo: Henry Groskinsky./Time & Life Pictures, Apr 04, 1968
Caption: Bill Campbell, alone on the motel balcony, gazing out into the night. "This photograph was probably made almost as soon as we got there, because there were a lot of people milling about in the dark, and then all of a sudden it cleared up. When I saw him standing there, alone, I thought to myself, 'Wow.' This isn't a posed picture. He's in deep pain, standing there by himself, as if asking, 'My God, what has happened here?'"
In an astonishing find, newly discovered historical photographs of the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr have recently resurfaced and published on Life magazine's new online archive.
The iconic image below is all that used to represent the history of that day. Now there is a little more of what happened from another LIFE photographer. I'm taken with the mood of Groskinsky's night images, the solemn images of the Lorraine Motel a quiet meeting taking place inside while a lone motel worker does the dirty work and cleans up the blood of the fallen hero.
Dr. Martin Luther King assassination, Memphis,Tenn., April 4, 1968; Photograph by Joseph Louw
This revealing of history through photography is discussed in one of that many essays on the new The Smithsonian Photography Initiative website: click! Photography Changes Everything, which is amassing quite a strong collection of thought on photography. This particular essay, PHOTOGRAPHY CHANGES OUR PERSPECTIVE ON HISTORICAL EVENTS was written about the 1925 Tennessee v. John T. Scopes Trial.