TODAY   |  November 13, 2012

Kitty Kelley honors photographer mentor in JFK  book

The best-selling author known for writing unauthorized biographies of public figures like Oprah Winfrey talks about her latest book, “Capturing Camelot,” which memorializes her late friend and mentor Stanley Tretick through his iconic images of his time with the Kennedy family.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> well, kitty kelly is best known for her unauthorized biographies of elizabeth taylor , oprah winfrey amongst others but trying something for her newest book. it's called "capturing camelot," and good morning to you.

>> good morning, savannah.

>> there's a back story behind all of the photos that we see in the book, some which have never been seen before in in way. how did you get your hands on this photo?

>> stanley was a wonderful friend, and he left them to me when he died. he also left me this marine corps locker of his which was filled with kennedy letters and diary extracts and memos and presents that he had received from the president. it was a very sentimental cache of things, and because this was the 50th anniversary of the kennedy administration i thought i'd put together a book.

>> it's a real treasure chest and we see some of the spirit of this in the book. let's talk about some of the photos. each tells a story. the first one we want to show is jfk and jack kennedy in a convertible. it's rare because we didn't get to see that many moments of affection between them.

>> that's absolutely right. this is coming back from the blair house to the white house , and jacqueline kennedy told stanley that this was her favorite picture with the president because she felt that it showed such affection and such intimacy. you know, jfk was -- he was not publicly demonstrative at all and didn't like to be photographed that way. didn't even kiss his wife after the speech.

>> and we know the kennedy children were such an object of affection and interest, but jfk didn't necessarily want the kids to be photographed. jackie didn't, and we have this photo that's taken in hyannis. it's a famous one of jfk on a golf cart surrounded which children but not the kennedy children.

>> no. jackie wouldn't led caroline or john-john be in this photograph, and these are all kennedy kids and cousins, and in this particular photograph they are saying uncle jack , run over the photographer. kill the photographer, uncle jack .

>> a picture of caroline holding her dad's photo. a good story behind that.

>> jackie was very, very upset about this. stanley took this picture, and she's standing next to maria shriver , and maria shriver said that's the president of the united states and carline said, no, it's not. it's my daddy. it's my daddy, and jackie would not let this be published because she said she felt that caroline looked bratty.

>> one of the most interesting stories in the book has to do with stanley 's efforts to photograph the children, which jackie apparently did not want, but finally you write that stanley got his opportunity, and he says when the president saw me, he said now you know we better get this out of the way pretty quick. things get kind of sticky when jackie is around and the results were pictures of the kids in and around the oval office .

>> a four-day exclusive shoot and the president brought stanley into the white house , into the family quarters, took him to camp david on the helicopter. they got an amazing series of photographs, and kennedy loved them. he loved them. he just thought they were fabulous, except for one. he did not want the picture -- now that's -- that's the famous one. stanley said when he shoved off this would be the shot he'd be remembered for.

>> this is the one that's never been seen before.

>> no. president kennedy said no because john-john was playing at his desk, and he felt -- the president felt that he wasn't taking the office seriously enough.

>> i know that after his death jacqueline kennedy reached out to stanley and had him shoot some photographs for a memorial issue for "look" magazine. tell us about that.

>> that's right. you know something. she said to stanley , she was so glad that he and the president had conspired against her because she wouldn't have had all the photographs that he took during those four days. she was so grateful, and stanley gave her all the photographs in an album, and then they went to london together, and there's a very funny diary extract. stanley titled it my 14 days of agony with jacqueline kennedy in which he had to trail her all over london and take pictures.

>> kitty kelly , you capture these moments so call. the book is called "capturing camelot." thanks for sharing some of it with us this morning. appreciate