Astrid Kirchherr was just 22 years old when she attended a concert that would change her life forever: a band from Liverpool, England was playing at a club in her native Germany, and what she saw shocked her.
"It was like a merry-go-round in my head. They looked absolutely astonishing," Kirchherr said in a press release. "My whole life changed in a couple of minutes. All I wanted was to be with them and to know them."
That band, of course, was the Beatles. And after that night, Kirchherr got to know them very well, eventually following them as a photographer through Hamburg, Germany in 1960 and again during the filming of "A Hard Day's Night" in 1964. She even began a relationship with original Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, and they were engaged when he died in 1962, notes the Los Angeles Times.
The photos she took during her time with the band eventually became part of "The Early Beatles Collection," an exhibition of some of the earliest photos taken of the musicians. The collection, presented in partnership with Rock Paper Photo and Ginzburg Fine Arts, is coming to the Leica Gallery Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Calif. and will include the photos Kirchherr took in 1960 and 1964, as well as photos of young Beatles fans. Some of the photos were taken by a Leica camera, says the gallery in a press release.
Rock Paper Photo blogged about the collection for The Huffington Post in July, noting that Kirchherr's friendship with the entire band is what landed her plum photography gigs during The Beatles' early years. From the post:
Astrid Kirchherr's lens caught the members of the Beatles as they transitioned from fresh-faced teenagers to rock icons beginning to feel the weight of their immense fame. Early on, her work brought an unmistakable polish to the young group who had never experienced a professional photography session before - until Astrid captured the Fab Four in a studio in 1962. Brian Epstein needed publicity shots of the band, and the band mates nixed his choice of photographers in favor of their talented friend.
As impressed as she was by the colorful personalities and hair styles of the original band members, Astrid also exerted her own stylistic mark on each of them. "Astrid was the one who influenced us more than anybody," George Harrison has said. "She made us look great."
"The Early Beatles Collection" will be at Leica Gallery Los Angeles from Saturday, Sept. 7 through Oct. 19. The public is invited to a special reception on opening day from 6 - 8 p.m.
Fab Four Outdoors at a Hard Days Night, 1964. Copyright: (All Images) Ginzburg Fine Arts/ Photo by Astrid Kirchherr
The Beatles on Set, 1964. Copyright: (All Images) Ginzburg Fine Arts/ Photo by Astrid Kirchherr
John at Home, 1964. Copyright: (All Images) Ginzburg Fine Arts/ Photo by Astrid Kirchherr
Paul McCartney and Fans at a Hard Days Night, 1964. Copyright: (All Images) Ginzburg Fine Arts/ Photo by Astrid Kirchherr
If you can't get enough of the Beatles, check out photographer Mike Mitchell's photos of their 1964 Washington D.C. performance, Derek Cooper's work as the official Beatles photographer and 19 Beatles GIFs -- just because.