Born: March 20, 1938 Died: October 3, 2013.
Bill Eppridge, who has died aged 75, was a photojournalist who took what is considered to be one of the greatest news pictures of all time: the image of presidential candidate Robert Kennedy lying on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles just moments after he had been shot.
Eppridge took the picture after the senator had been shot by a young Palestinian Christian Sirhan Sirhan in the kitchen of the hotel and was robust in defending his decision to continue to take pictures at such a sensitive time. "That kind of situation has to be documented," he said, "It has to be told and it had to be told to people who do not understand the horrors we can face."
Eppridge was born to an American family in Bueonos Aires, where his father was a chemical engineer. When he was still a young boy, the family moved back to Delaware, where he began to develop his interest in photography.
After deciding to drop his initial plan to become an archaeologist, he studied photojournalism at the University of Missouri before taking a post at National Geographic and then, in 1964, Life magazine.
It was while working for Life that he began to take an interest in Robert Kennedy and his campaign for the White House. He first got to know the senator in 1966 and when he announced that in 1968 he was running for president, Eppridge knew he had to be on the campaign trail to take pictures.
As Mr Kennedy met the crowds, Eppridge was there and took some extraordinary pictures of the senator and brother of JFK addressing huge crowds. He began to get close to his subject and had no regrets about that. "Most journalists tried to maintain a separation between themselves and the politicians, and most accomplished that," he said. "But Kennedy was too powerful a figure for me to try to distance myself from him."
On the night of his assassination, Mr Kennedy had just won the California primary and delivered an acceptance speech at the Ambassador. He was then making his way through the back of the hotel when Sirhan struck. Eppridge had been walking directly behind Mr Kennedy and in the aftermath of the shooting began to take pictures. The most famous shows Kennedy on the ground in a pool of light with a hotel working crouching over him.
The assassination had a huge impact on Eppridge, because he had grown close to Mr Kennedy in the weeks that he followed the campaign. However, he also knew he had taken an important picture. "He said in effect that he was no longer a photographer," said fellow Life photographer Bob Gomel. "He became a historian at that point."
Although the Kennedy picture was his most famous, Eppridge took many other significant photographs. In the mid-1960s, he spent time photographing drug addicts in New York and the resulting photo essay, Needle Park, inspired the Al Pacino film Panic in Needle Park.
Eppridge also shot The Beatles's first appearance in the US and at the time of his death had been working on a book on the subject.
After leaving Life magazine in 1972, he worked for a number of other publications including Time and Sports Illustrated. He is survived by his wife Adrienne.
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