“The Pink Mist”


Abraham Zapruder, [Frame 313 of 8mm home movie of assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Dallas], November 22, 1963 (1846.2005)

Zapruder Film © 1967 (Renewed 1995) The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

The morning after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, LIFE magazine purchased Abraham Zapruder’s home movie of the event and the rights to publish it. LIFE published thirty-one black-and-white stills in the November 29, 1963 issue, which was dedicated to the president’s assassination in Dallas the previous week.

In the full sequence of images, the President’s car comes out from behind a sign. The president’s wave turns into a clutching movement toward his throat. Texas Governor John Connally, who glances around to see what has happened, is struck by a bullet and slumps over. As the president’s car approaches a lamppost, Mrs. Kennedy suddenly becomes aware of what has happened and reaches over to help while Governor Connally collapses to the floor. The president falls on his wife’s shoulder and, in the last two small pictures published in LIFE, the First Lady cradles him in her arms.

This particular still focuses on an image that every trained sniper lives for: “the pink mist.” So rarely captured, this image exemplifies this unusual term. It is the blood that comes out of a sniper’s target when hit. The blood appears pinkish over the distance and the quick burst of blood that comes out makes a misty effect.

Cian O’Donoghue, ICP-Bard 2013

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