Sunday, November 14, 2010

Previously Unseen Beatles Photos Released

Photographer Shot the Beatles the Day Before The Band Recorded "Hey Jude"

Unseen for over forty years: John Lennon
lying on the ground as if mortally wounded.
[photo by Stephen Goldblatt]

By Paul Iorio

He has smoked weed with The Beatles. He was with

Jimi Hendrix two days before he died. He calls

George Harrison "paranoid." And his

favorite Beatle is Ringo.

And, by the way, he also has a stash of primo photos of

the Beatles -- shot the day before the Fab Four

began studio sessions to record "Hey Jude" -- that

he didn't bother to release until earlier this

month, over four decades after the shoot.

The man is Stephen Goldblatt, a photographer and

Oscar-nominated cinematographer who was lucky enough

to have accompanied the Beatles around London on

July 28, 1968.

Goldblatt shot up 23 rolls of film that day but didn't

release his pics until this month; 25 are on display at

a gallery at the University of California, Berkeley, in

the U.S., and another 75 can be seen in a new

limited-edition book from Fotovision.

To kick off the Fab Four photo exhibition, Goldblatt

narrated a slideshow at a California campus auditorium

that was overflowing with Berkeley Beatlemaniacs last


When someone in the audience asked why he hadn't released the

photos before and "bought an island in the South Pacific

with the proceeds," Goldblatt replied: "I think you overestimate

the value of the pictures."

"I never kept them particularly hidden," he added. "I just

wasn't marketing them."

The picture that people remarked upon most at the

gallery was an eerily prescient shot of

John Lennon lying on the ground, as if mortally wounded,

while the other band members gathered around him.

Other photos show Ringo Starr wearing sunglasses and looking like

a classic movie star; the four at a fence with schoolchildren

(who were told not to stare at the band during the shoot);

a bare-chested Paul McCartney in chains; and a shot of Lennon

and Yoko Ono, looking very '68.

At the time of the shoot, on July 28, 1968, the Beatles were

in the middle of recording the white album in sessions that

sprawled over almost five months.

But two months into the sessions, McCartney came up

with "Hey Jude," which the band immediately

recorded and released as a non-album single.

(One of Goldblatt's photos shows McCartney playing

the piano as the others sing along to "Hey Jude.")

Shortly after the shoot, he gave up still photography

for years to became a cinematographer -- and a successful

one at that. He went on to earn two Oscar nominations (for

his work on "The Prince of Tides" and "Batman Forever").

"Cinematography is collaborative," he said. "Which is why I like

it. Still photography -- which is why I left it -- is so isolated."

* * * *

Ringo in '68, looking very Hollywoodish.

* * * *

Photographer Stephen Goldblatt, narrating
a slide show of his previously unreleased
Beatles photos, on Friday night at the
University of California, Berkeley.
[photo by Paul Iorio]

"Mad Day Out," a U.S. exhibition of 25 previously unseen photos of
The Beatles by Stephen Goldblatt, can be seen at North Gate
Hall on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley,
through January 18, 2011.


NOTE TO EDITORS: [Other reporters have made the error of mis-reporting that the shots were taken after "Hey Jude" was released. Not true. The photo shoot was on the 28th of July; the recording sessions for "Hey Jude" happened from the 29th to the 31st. And the song itself wasn't released until late August.]

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