Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective

ISBN 13: 9781846314773

Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective

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9781846314773: Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective
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Astrid Kirchherr is best known to many as the first professional photographer to photograph the Beatles in Hamburg in 1960 and 1961, and as the fiancée of Stuart Sutcliffe, the original bass player in the Beatles. Less well-known are her other photographs, and Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective seeks to place Kirchherr's photography in a wider context.

 

The book charts her life as an art student in Hamburg through new interviews with Kirchherr and the people who knew her personally at that time. Klaus Voormann, Kirchherr's close friend at art college, provides unique insight into their life in the city in the late 1950s, with fascinating details of the time and place. Further detail is provided by Gibson Kemp, Kirchherr's ex-husband, and Ulf Kruger, her close friend and manager. It was in a studio created in Kirchherr's mother's attic that Stuart Sutcliffe made his famous Hamburg series of abstract expressionist canvases—and where historic photographs of the Beatles were made.

 

The editors, working closely with Kirchherr, have unparalleled access to her photographic archives, and the essays are complemented with a wealth of black-and-white and color plates of key photographs, and by numerous additional images of Kirchherr and her contemporaries, including the Beatles. Many of these photos are previously unpublished and many more appear here for the first time uncropped.

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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.

Review:

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 * 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 * 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 *

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