Edited by Matthew H. Clough, Colin Fallows, and Astrid Kirchherr
Astrid Kirchherr is a Hamburg based photographer. She met the Beatles when they made their first visit to Hamburg in 1960 and after becoming close friends with the then unknown group she made a series of classic individual and group photographic studies of them. The movie Backbeat (1994) is based on the life and love of Astrid Kirchherr and Stuart Sutcliffe in Hamburg
Colin Fallows is Professor of Sound and Visual Arts at Liverpool School of Art and Design, Liverpool John Moores University
Matthew H. Clough is Director of the Victoria Gallery and Museum
Acknowledgments Artist and Muse — The Photography of Astrid Kirchherr Michael Bracewell Interview with Astrid Kirchherr Colin Fallows Astrid Kirchherr — Pop Modernist 1959—1966 Jon Savage Interview with Klaus Voormann Colin Fallows Interview with Gibson Kemp Colin Fallows A Vision of Liverpool — Astrid Kirchherr and the city in 1964 Matthew H Clough Interview with Ulf Krüger Colin Fallows Astrid Kirchherr — Influences and Favourites Contributors’ Biographies
In the early 1960s the Beatles posed for hours for the German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, even before the roster of four band members was finalized. She met them when they first played in her native Hamburg and encouraged them to imitate her bowl-cut hair and collarless jackets. She was briefly engaged to the bass player Stuart Sutcliffe, who died of a brain hemorrhage in 1962, at 21. She later tried to branch out as a photojournalist, but potential clients always asked, “Where are the Beatles pictures?” This spring Ms. Kirchherr, 73, decided to shed the baggage. Early this fall Guernsey’s auction house in New York will offer about 800 of her negatives and prints. Although she says she has remained friends with the surviving Beatles, she cannot wait to stop being asked about them, and the past in general. “I must tell you the truth, I’m absolutely fed up with it all,” she said in a recent phone interview. She added, “I’ve got to take care of my age.” Buyers at the auction will receive rights to reprint and publish the photos “as they see fit,” Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey’s, said. Ms. Kirchherr, despite her jadedness, has come back into the limelight in the last year. Arne Bellstorf, a German comics artist, wrote and illustrated “Baby’s in Black: The Story of Astrid Kirchherr & Stuart Sutcliffe” (published by Reprodukt). A retrospective of her work closed in January at the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool, and Liverpool University Press (distributed by University of Chicago Press) has issued a Kirchherr monograph. In July the new Museum of Liverpool will open with a gallery devoted to Beatles memorabilia. It will display a jacket that the drummer Pete Best wore during Hamburg stints before he was replaced by Ringo Starr, and Sutcliffe’s black leather wallet, with white hearts painted on the corners and an inscribed love note from Ms. Kirchherr.
The New York Times
This is a delightful book for those rainy Sunday afternoon. Lying on the couch, daydreaming with meaningful photographs (from a time when everybody smoked) and illuminating commentaries.
Beatles Fan club, Netherlands
The exhibition catalog is a beautifully designed coffee table book with 208 pages of lush prints, countless rare portraits from the 1960s music scene (including great club shots!) .... this volume offers more images and information about Astrid's work than I have ever come across in the last 35 years of Beatles research and collecting. It also offers interviews with Astrid, Klaus Voormann, and others close to her career. A very special addition to a Beatles, 1960s culture, or Photography library. Thank you VG & M and Astrid for sharing these precious archives.
Size: 275 x 225 mm
Publication: September 3, 2010
Series: Victoria Gallery and Museum