Jacqueline Kennedy’s personally-owned and –used Nikon FM 35mm single lens manual focus camera, measuring 5.5 x 6 x 3.5 with the AF Nikkor 28-85 zoom lens attached. Manufactured between 1977 and 1982, the camera includes its Nikon lens cap, adjustable black leather shoulder strap, the original brown leather Leitz Wetzlar camera case bearing an affixed ‘inspected baggage’ customs label, and a Nikon Nikkor 28mm 1:3.5 camera lens. The camera is in fine condition, with expected wear from use. Mild wear and scuffing to the case, otherwise fine condition. Accompanied by the original warranty and instruction manual for the Nikon zoom lens, a copy of the Sotheby’s receipt, as well as three copies of images featuring Jackie holding cameras—one which appears to possibly be this example, or a similar version.
Well before she became the focal point of the world’s paparazzi, Jacqueline Kennedy was making a name for herself behind the camera. In the fall of 1951, a 23-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier landed her first job as the ‘Inquiring Camera Girl,’ a roving photojournalist position for the Washington Times Herald newspaper that involved taking pictures of people she interviewed on the street. In addition to her coverage of President Eisenhower’s 1951 inauguration and Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation, her impromptu photo-shoots led to a chance encounter with a soon-to-be senator from Massachusetts. As photography helped fashion Kennedy’s keen eye for detail and framing, she developed a fondness for the craft itself, attesting that she loved ‘ferreting out people’s secrets and exploring how a photo—an exterior exposure—can reveal their interior.’ Synonymous with style and grace, Kennedy’s imprint on modern beauty remains unrivaled amongst first ladies, with this camera existing as a unique extension of one of Kennedy’s foremost passions. Provenance: Sotheby’s, February 2005 Kennedy Homes Auction; ex. The Frank Harvey Kennedy Collection.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.