This story first appeared in the Nov. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Was there ever a band more photographed than The Beatles?
From their earliest days at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, still in ducktails and leathers, to their arrival in New York in 1964, waving from the door of a 707 in Brian Epstein‘s suits and ties, to John Lennon and Yoko Ono‘s bed-ins, the pervasive visual legacy of the band is a perpetual photo op, as stage-managed as the cover of Sgt. Pepper. What has been missing are the intimate candids of four legends-in-the-making leading the few moments of unscripted life that were possible as Beatlemania raged around them.
Photograph, a deluxe, limited-edition (2,500 copies) collection of photos taken by Ringo Starr throughout The Beatles’ career — many of them seen for the first time — conveys their lives as they lived them while the whole world was watching. Starr himself, who signed each book, is aware of the photos’ significance: by showing The Beatles with their hair down, so to speak, the effect is to render Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Starr smaller than life even as Madame Tussauds immortalized them in wax and Buckingham Palace doled out the MBEs.
Fortunately for the budding rock star and lensman — Starr took up photography as a hobby at 17 — “I was kind of stuck with them as models. All through our touring career, we shared two rooms and one car. That’s how you get to know each other: in the van, hour after hour.”