Barry Sweet, an Associated Press photographer in Seattle for 34 years, was always there: There for the splashdown of Apollo 8, the first Americans to orbit the moon in 1968; there when Robert Kennedy made a campaign trip to Oregon weeks before his assassination; there for Jimi Hendrix’s funeral in Renton and for Madonna’s first-ever concert in Seattle.
Sweet has come out with a collection of his news photography, “Split Seconds: Four Decades of News Photography from the Pacific Northwest and Beyond,” and he will be signing copies of the book from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Everett Costco, 10200 19th Ave. SE.
The book, which lists at $19.95, is a visual history with behind-the-scenes accounts of major news-making events.
Of the splashdown of Apollo 8, Sweet writes: “NASA didn’t want the press too close to the splashdown site, in case they opened the capsule door and found the men dead. We had to stay on a nearby Navy ship, so I bought cameras from the ship store and gave them to the military helicopter crew that would fly the astronauts back to the ship. I told the crew if they took pictures and gave me the film, I’d let them keep the cameras.”
Sweet had easy access to the headline makers of the day: “There were no security agents or squads of policemen getting between us and our subjects. (Former pro football player) Rosey Grier was Robert Kennedy’s only protection. I remember Kennedy was always asking us what time it was. He couldn’t wear a watch because people would try to take it off his wrist,” he writes.