The companion book to the photography exhibit “Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” which is currently on display at the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool was officially released today. What a treat for those of us who can’t make it to Liverpool before the exhibit closes on January 29, 2011!
With or without the exhibit, “Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” is an important historical document in Beatles history. Compared to her limited edition coffee table books from Genesis costing several hundred dollars, this is one of the few times Astrid Kirchherr has compiled a collection of her legendary photos of The Beatles in an affordable edition.
Not only was Astrid a photographer who took the first professional shots of The Beatles back in Hamburg in late 1960, but she also became their friend. Aside from her love affair with The Beatles’ former bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, Astrid formed the closest bond with George Harrison.
In an interview with Astrid featured in the book, she says: “George was always my favorite, his kindness and wit. He was just a wonderful person and whenever I was in trouble, like with money and things, he was always looking after me and he invited me a couple of times to London and later on to Henley. I just miss him terribly because he was like a little guardian angel for me. I feel like I am in a way lost without him.”
Astrid, her ex-boyfriend, Klaus Voormann, and friend Jurgen Vollmer had a huge impact on The Beatles during their time in Hamburg. The Beatles traded in their matching sports jackets for leather attire due to the fashion influence of their new Hamburg friends, and eventually combed their hair forward in the “moptop” style due to Astrid and Jurgen’s influence.
The first black and white photos that Astrid took of The Beatles at the funfair at a munincipal park in Hamburg are regarded as some of the best photos of The Beatles ever taken. These photos as well as many never before seen photos are featured in the book including pictures of Astrid with Paul, George and Ringo on a holiday vacation in Tenerife in 1963.
At 208 pages, “Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” offers not only famous photos of The Beatles, but also uncropped and alternate shots. Featuring in-depth interviews with Astrid, Klaus Voormann, Ulf Kruger and Gibson Kemp, we learn much more about this young female photographer who, at the time, had no idea that her friends and photography subjects would become the biggest band in the world.
— Trina Yannicos
“Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” is available for order on Amazon.com
Editor’s Note: Read about Astrid Kirchherr’s first US appearance in Chicago in 1997 in the first issue of Daytrippin’
(available in PDF or hard copy format)