John-John Salute


Many photos were taken of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s coffin. However, the above photo (in its entirety or in its cropped form) is the most reproduced version. Despite its field of view was blocked by the honor guard, the black-and-white photo which reflects the sombre atmosphere took precedence over other color photos taken that day. 

However, the photo was taken the government payroll, and no photographer got personal credit for the photo. Photographer Joe O’Donnell produced a cropped version of the photo and sold copies of them after his retirement from the White House in 1968. However, it is now contended that UPI’s Stan Steans took the above picture. Since it is impossible for two people to have shot the same exact photograph, Steans’ larger version seems more credible. [link, link]

63 thoughts on “John-John Salute

  1. Is the photographer’s name Stan Stean or Stearn? Under the John-John photo it is typed Stean.

    • The photographer’s name is/was Stan Stearns.

      On the back of our family photograph taken in December 1979 it says; Photography by Stan Stearns, 1814 Glade Court, Annapolis, MD 21403.

      Mr. Stearns is no longer listed in the telephone directory.

  2. I worked in Stan’s gallery for a few weeks in the 1980s. It was full of photos he took during his UPI days, when his rotation included Vietnam and the White House. The gallery was filled with signed photos of Jackie O., Johnson, and many others.

    At one point, he could pick up a paper anywhere in the world and see one of his photos on the cover. He was forever vexed — to put it mildly — that UPI was always credited for this one, but he was not credited individually.

    This was the last year in which there was a single Pulitzer for photography, which went to the photograph of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald — a news photo. The next year, they introduced the feature photo category, which would have gone to Stan.

  3. My uncle, David S Boyer shot this photograph while he was working for National Geographic. I don’t know who was standing next to him that shot yours.

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