In the archives of...
LIFE: Carl Mydans
Death of JFK
Commuters at Grand Central Station in New York City, Photograph by Carl Mydans, 1963 © Time Inc.
I never had much to do with the Kennedys. I was out of the country most of the time when John Kennedy was Senator and then President. The day he was shot, I had been out of New York, and when I got back late in the day, I found that our entire staff, both writers and photographers, had been sent in every direction, to get whatever they could. Somebody in the office said to me, “You're the last one.”
I said, “What do you want from me?”
“We have no idea,” they said. “Go out somewhere and bring something back.” I went out and made pictures here and there, and finally I got to Grand Central Station and made some pictures, but nothing I felt was anything good. Then on an impulse, as a train was about to leave, I followed the boarding crowd, and I got on the train. I didn't even know where it was going, but it was loaded with people, everybody sitting throughout the cars and reading about the murder of the President. It was in the days when there were many competing evening newspapers in New York City, and that's the scene I got. Just standing in the train and taking a picture of everybody reading. One of my pictures of that scene is one of mine most often asked for.
(Interviewed on January 9, 1992. Excerpted from: John Loengard, LIFE Photographers: What They Saw, Boston, A Bullfinch Press Book, 1998)