A UK art gallery on Thursday released a handful of previously unseen photographs taken by Paul McCartney, ahead of a major display later this year showcasing how he captured Beatlemania through his own lens.
The National Portrait Gallery unveiled the five photos from an archive of more than 250 images shot by McCartney between November 1963 and February 1964 which will feature in its exhibition opening in late June.
They include black-and-white self-portraits shot in a mirror in Paris, John Lennon also in the French capital, George Harrison wearing sunglasses in Miami Beach, and Ringo Starr in London.
The exhibition, “Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes Of The Storm”, will run for three months from June 28 to mark the famous London gallery’s reopening after three years of refurbishments.
Curators have drawn from more than 250 photographs in McCartney’s personal archive, taken on his Pentax camera, as the so-called Fab Four were being propelled to global stardom.
McCartney called their exhibition at the country’s foremost portrait space “humbling yet also astonishing”.
“Looking at these photos now, decades after they were taken, I find there’s a sort of innocence about them,” he said in a statement released by the gallery.
“Everything was new to us at this point. But I like to think I wouldn’t take them any differently today.
“They now bring back so many stories, a flood of special memories, which is one of the many reasons I love them all, and know that they will always fire my imagination.”
McCartney approached the gallery in 2020 about staging a display after stumbling across the images, which he thought were lost.
They chronicle a critical period in the evolution of the band, beginning with portraits taken backstage in Liverpool and culminating with their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York for an audience of millions.
National Portrait Gallery director Nicholas Cullinan said the exhibition will give people a sense of what Beatlemania looked and felt like “for the four pairs of eyes that lived and witnessed it first-hand”.
“McCartney’s intimate photographs have more in common with a family album, capturing people caught in off-guard moments of relaxation and laughter,” he added.
An accompanying book of photographs and reflections will be published on June 13.
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