Paul Fusco – Funeral train (USA, 1968 )
Paul Fusco was 38 years old when Robert Kennedy’s coffin left NewYork heading to Washington. The democratic candidate was killed 2 days before, shot whilst celebrating his victory right after California’s primary elections. The crave travelled on a 10 coaches train, which led it to Arlington’s cemetery to be buried beside his brother John.
“The intelligence department settled the coffin in the last coach, then said to the family to take seats in the 9th coach….The trip lasted more than 8 hours across 5 states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland….One million of people was waiting along the railtracks. The train was running slow, but it was the right speed for a funeral. That train was the Funeral Train”.
Fusco shot more than 2.000 photographs in that occasion. This reportage is still one of the most emotional portrait of the American people.
“I was really anxious, but looking outside the windows has been enough to me to understand: I saw the crowd and everything suddenly was clear. I lowered the window and started to shoot. I stayed in the same position for 8 hours taking pictures of the people standing along the railtracks. That was the History.”
Paul Fusco shot 2.000 portraits of barefoot children, parents holding their infants, well dressed couples, old men with hats in their hands, boy scouts, coloured dressed girls, boys sitting on their motorcycles.
When the sunset came, he shot a 7 people family, standing in line according their height and age. On the left the youngest of 5 children, then the mother and the father. All of them with the head down. This is the photograph which better gives the idea of this farewell.