Photo-journalist signs copies of book at Costco August 18

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Seattle photo-journalist Barry Sweet will be at the Aurora Village Costco August 18 from 11 am to 1 pm to sign copies of his book: Split Seconds: Four Decades of News Photography from the Pacific Northwest and Beyond by Barry Sweet.

A young Bill Gates and friends
Robert Kennedy
If it weren’t for Seattle-based Associated Press photographer Barry Sweet, the world might never have seen photos of the first Americans to orbit the moon after their splashdown. “NASA didn’t want the press too close to the splashdown site, in case they opened the capsule door and found the men dead. We had to stay on a near-by Navy ship, so I bought cameras from the ship store and gave them to the military helicopter crew that would fly the astronauts back to the ship. I told the crew if they took pictures and gave me the film - I’d let them keep the cameras.”
Sweet was the only Northwest-based AP photographer in 1968 when he secured those images of Apollo 8’s astronauts. He went on to cover Robert Kennedy’s Oregon campaign visit just weeks before his assassination, Jimi Hendrix’s funeral in Renton, the first stop of Madonna’s first concert tour (at Seattle’s Paramount Theater) and Bill Gates’ early years. In fact, Gates used to call Sweet with the hope of luring him to photo ops. “He was always asking if AP would be sending the photos worldwide. He wanted international coverage.”

Based in Seattle, Sweet worked for AP for 34 years. Raleigh Press is now releasing some of the photojournalist’s most provocative images and behind-the-scene stories in Split Seconds: Four Decades of News Photography from the Pacific Northwest and Beyond ‒ a visual time capsule from the two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee.

A small plane was caught by a wind gust and ended up
hanging from power lines by one wheel
In Split Seconds, Sweet recounts his personal relationships with newsmakers such as Gates, artists Dale Chihuly and Jacob Lawrence and a long string of prominent Washington state politicians. “When Governor (Gary) Locke’s first child was born, he was besieged by requests for photo shoots. To protect his family, the governor asked me if I would take pictures of him, his wife, Mona, and their new baby, and distribute them to the other news media.”

Sweet’s accounts of his interactions with history’s headline makers is something today’s press corps will envy. “There were no security agents or squads of policemen getting between us and our subjects. (Former pro football player) Rosie Greer was Robert Kennedy’s only protection. I remember Kennedy was always asking us what time it was. He couldn’t wear a watch because people would try to take it off his wrist. ”

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