How Six-tenths of a Second Changed a Photograph and a Life

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We've all seen the iconic photograph of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald.  It was taken from a low, ground angle and is just as visceral as the act itself.  It captures an amazing amount of emotion, and captured the Pulitzer for photographer Robert Jackson.  It's also the second of many photographs to be taken of the event.

The first was taken by Jack Beers Jr., a photographer for the Dallas Morning News.  Beers was positioned higher up, on a railing overlooking the proceedings, and was the first to see what was going on.  "My first impression was, it was a photographer out of position or with a very short lens trying to improve his position," said Beers.

Beers quickly realized what was happening and took his shot.  It's a fine photograph to be sure, but it doesn't capture the emotion of the event.  The police, reporters and even Oswald himself all look bored.  They don't yet know what's going on, and Ruby's face is turned away from the camera.

Six-tenths of a second later, when Jackson snapped his shot, Oswald was shouting out in pain, and looks of panic and confusion were abundant in the crowd.  "The reason Beers shot too soon," says Jackson, "is that he saw it easier and quicker than I did."

The Dallas News has the full story, including insights from both Jackson and Beers.