Forty-five-year-old Charles Bronson, chief engineer of Varel Manufacturing in Dallas, brought two cameras to Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963: a Leica Model III for still photographs and a Keystone Olympic K-25 for color home movies. He and his wife, Frances, stood atop a concrete pedestal at the southwest corner of Main and Houston streets. Bronson had had a lifelong dream to see a president and was eager to capture images of President Kennedy during his visit to Dallas.
Bronson's Leica, purchased in 1938, was the oldest known camera used in Dealey Plaza on the day of the assassination. It was loaded with daylight Kodachrome film. After taking two still photographs of the presidential limousine near and at the corner of Main and Houston streets - in between brief film sequences - Bronson waited with his Leica to take a third image of the Kennedy motorcade as it made its way down Elm Street. He had intended to wait until the limousine came into full view, but according to Bronson, the sound of the first shot startled him, causing him to jump and snap this slightly blurred image of the assassination in progress. This slide corresponds approximately with Zapruder frame 229.
Immediately after taking this still image, Bronson once again raised his Keystone Olympic home movie camera and captured approximately two seconds of the assassination on film, including the fatal shot to President Kennedy.
This remarkable still image provides the most panoramic perspective of Dealey Plaza during the Kennedy assassination. A number of eyewitnesses--including Abraham Zapruder, the Newman and Chism families, Charles and Joe Brehm, Jean Hill and Mary Moorman, and the controversial Babushka Lady and Umbrella Man figures--are all visible in this one photograph as the shooting takes place. - Stephen Fagin, Curator