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A Day in the Life of the Beatlesby Don Mccullin
Synopses & Reviews
One day in 1968 Don McCullin, then regarded as the world’s most accomplished war photographer, received a commission from the Apple Corporation to spend a day photographing the Beatles. McCullin had just returned from covering the bitter fighting during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and was the most hardened photojournalist in the field. He was astonished by the invitation. On Sunday 28 September he met the Beatles at the Sunday Times studio and began to photograph them in color for a Life magazine cover. The day that followed has become known in Beatles lore as ‘The Mad Day Out’. McCullin shot twenty rolls of black-and-white film in various locations across London, from the banks of the Thames to Paul McCartney’s garden. Apart from the Life cover photograph and two pictures in McCullin’s recent book In England, we believe the work to be otherwise unpublished.
The timing of this day was significant. At the height of their international fame following the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles were in the middle of recording the White Album. The war was raging in Vietnam and riots had spread through capital cities worldwide. It was the very moment of a generational divide, and the Beatles were the iconic figureheads of the youth movement. One of the most poignant photographs taken that day was of John Lennon posing as dead, surrounded by the other three, in an image that he himself had carefully choreographed. What was an intentional pose in protest is now seen as tragic and prophetic. These pictures are of four inspired musicians on the cusp of the change. They mark the passing of an era in which we can glimpse our own lost youth.
"The legendary unpublished photos"--Jacket.
Published to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennons death, this previously unpublished collection of poignant photographs is a record of one day with The Beatles—just after Sgt. Pepper was released. In September 1968, critically acclaimed photojournalist Don McCullin was invited to spend a day photographing The Beatles in locations ranging from Paul McCartneys garden to the banks of the Thames, as well as in their recording studio. The timing of this was, in hindsight, significant. The Beatles had just released Sgt. Pepper, Vietnam was in turmoil, and riots had spread through Americas cities and campuses. It was the moment when the innocence and optimism of the sixties darkened—the instant the youth movement, of which The Beatles were icons, converged with the antiwar protests, the civil rights movement, and the burgeoning counterculture. One of the most poignant photographs taken that day was of John Lennon posing as dead, surrounded by the other three band members. Lennon himself carefully choreographed the image as a pose of protest, but it is now seen as tragic and strangely prophetic. These images of four inspired artists at the pinnacle of success and on the cusp of transformation mark the passing of an era, and in them, we can glimpse our own lost youth.
Don McCullin was an acclaimed war photographer of the late twentieth century. The winner of numerous awards, including two Premier Awards from the World Press Photo, he became the only photojournalist to be made Commander of the British Empire. He is the author of several books and was awarded the 2006 Cornell Capa Award by the International Center for Photography in New York. Paul McCartney gained worldwide fame as a member of The Beatles and is listed in the Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history."
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