Hamburg-based photographer Astrid Kirchherr became close friends with the Beatles in 1960. This shot of Paul McCartney and selfportrait were taken in that year and form part of new book Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective, published by Liverpool University Press. Her work is also on show at Liverpool University's Victoria Gallery and Museum until January. Photos: Astrid Kirchherr. The Big Issue in the North 20101004 If the British Invasion led by The Beatles in the early-mid 1960s had a great influence on the look and sound of the era, then part of the credit can be traced back to the band's stylish friend from their early Hamburg days, photographer Astrid Kirchherr. Fans have seen a handful of Kirchherr's famous images throughout the years, most notably the 'fairground' portraits that she made of The Beatles in 1960. We've heard much about her relationship with painter/Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, through various interviews, documentaries, biographies, and bio-pic films. And Kirchherr had some input on the movie Backbeat, which did something to establish how her artsy, existentialist crowd impacted the look of the band. But nothing has ever quite captured the scope of her work as a photographer- until now! The Victoria Gallery & Museum/Liverpool University Press has published the book we've all been waiting for in conjunction with their exhibition of Kirchherr's work (up through January 29, 2011), titled Astrid Kirchherr: a Retrospective. Museum curator, Matthew Clough, highlights Kirchherrr's work as a time capsule of the era beyond her Beatles images in an interview for the BBC: "Astrid is known for her photographs of the Beatles in Hamburg, but her images of Liverpool in the early 60s provide a unique snapshot of a particular moment in its history." If you are a Spy Viber with a taste for black turtlenecks, slender trousers, sunglasses, and electric guitars, there is much to discover in this collection. 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!). Some contact sheets are included, but a few famous ones are conspicuously absent. Though I have not seen the limited edition books Astrid made for Genesis Publications, I can say that 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. Find the book on Amazon here. Spy Vibe 20101015 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. Spy Vibe 20101015 Astrid Kirchherr was lucky - she was at the right time in the right place - Hamburg 1960, the Beatles play there every night in a pub on the Reeperbahn, and Kirchherr get dating Stu Sutcliffe, who so in Germany remains, and thus on a decisive moment in the Beatles history disappears. Kirchherr took photographs of the Beatles, and those pictures made her famous relative. In the retrospective that appeared at the Liverpool University Press are also photos to find Kirchherr made in Liverpool, and show that she certainly was not a bad photographer. The picture of the long line you can see the bottom right was also made before the Cavern where the Beatles was performed. Kirchherr also has a time had a relationship with George Harrison, and while running A Hard Days Night she was continually present with her camera. The book contains a lot of pictures from that period and making the portrait of Stu Sutcliffe (including in his studio in Hamburg), by Klaus Mann (one of the other German contacts of the Beatles, and a lover of Kirchherr ) and others. Kirchherr in the book is put down as an artist and muse, but it does not sound quite convincing. She was earlier, as I said, at the right time in the right place. And Sutcliffe, Harrison and Mann for a long time were charmed by her makes her no muse. The book contains many photos where relatively Kirchherr itself visible, as if all she wants to prove she really was there. This results, along with stories and interviews, a marginal piece of Beatles history, that only the really fanatical Beatles fan (who would still be there?) Interesting. There are interviews in the book Kirchherr herself, her husband Gibson Kemp, Klaus Mann and one Ulf Kruger, while Jon Savage wrote a piece titled "Astrid Kirchherr - Pop Modernists 1959-1966". Well. My tentative conclusion is that we probably never heard of Astrid Kirchherr if they do not happen in Hanover was running up against the Beatles. http://www.moorsmagazine.com/fotografie/kirchherr.html Moorsmagazine 201010 The Genesis of The Beatles is a broad spectrum. On interest (who, what, where and how) is often discussed but that nobody disputes is that the group largely formed in Hamburg. There slept the basis for their stageact and personality. And as they came in every good boys from different people that the rest of their lives would continue to play a role. One (Klaus Mann) years later got a Grammy for his work on the Revolver cover. Another, equally important, character was Astrid Kirchherr. She met the group for the first time in 1960 (course in Hamburg) and subsequent years she would always remain a good friend. From 1957 to 1960 studied photography at the Astrid Meister Schule fur Mode, Textil Work Schule fur, Grafik und Werbung. Through fellow student Klaus Mann came in contact with the group. At first she was aloof and a little scared but slowly there was chemistry between Astrid and the group. They even had a relationship with Stuart Sutcliffe (they came together in love and creativity) and the boys visited the home of Astrid and her mother often. A nice story so far, but the best is yet to come. Namely Astrid took many pictures of the boys as a group and individuals and we're not talking about snapshots ("Say cheese everybody!") But beautiful black and white artistic creations (high pop-modernism). This silent but speaking soundtrack is stunning material from a group that at that moment in history is completely unknown. In the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool on 25 August 2010 to January 29, 2011 to see a retrospective of these unique recordings. Take home and others interested in this huge book is published with a selection of the exhibition. It is a wonderful book. Intelligent interviews about Astrid and her famous friends but also about her influences, mentors and style. Astrid is itself of course, the other word. The content goes beyond the obvious-looking monkey level. The whole scene Hamburg from the early sixties is well documented past. Words and images of Klaus Voormannn, Gibson Kemp (the first husband of Astrid), The Beatles, Stuart Suttcliffe, Jackie Lomax and Tony Sheridan. The pictures of John and George Suttcliffe in Stuart's studio (shortly after his death) are stilly. Hilarious is the picture of George Harrison with his permed curls from her late seventies. This is a delightful book for rainy Sunday afternoon. Sitting on the couch, daydreaming with meaningful photographs (from a time when everybody smoked) and insightful comments. Beatles Fan Club, Netherlands 201011 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 201011 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 20110519
About the Author
Matthew H. Clough is director of the Victoria Gallery and Museum. Colin Fallows is professor of sound and visual arts at Liverpool School of Art and Design, Liverpool John Moores University.