20 May Astrid Kirchherr
Born in Hamburg, May 20th 1938, German photographer and artist Astrid Kirchherr was known the world over for her remarkable photographs of The Beatles in Hamburg, and for helping create their early mop-top image.
Sadly, last week, the world lost her just prior to her 82nd birthday and our hearts go out to her loved ones and all of the people touched by her beauty.
According to Beatles historian and biographer Mark Lewisohn, Astrid Kirchher, a protégée of the great photographer Reinhart Wolf, took “the definitive image of the group before they attained fame” when she lensed the Beatles at a fairground in Hamburg, Germany, in 1960.
“It was like a merry-go-round in my head. They looked absolutely astonishing… My whole life changed in a couple of minutes. All I wanted was to be with them and to know them.”
“I always took my friends seriously in what they were doing. For me, the music of the Beatles then was serious and very, very serious art. So I couldn’t take a picture of John laughing his head off or pulling funny faces because he was a serious artist, even when he was only 20.”
The Beatles met Astrid again in Hamburg in 1966 when they were touring Germany, and Kirchherr gave John Lennon the letters he had written to Sutcliffe in 1961 and 1962.
John said it was … “the best present I’ve had in years“
Astrid described how difficult it was to be accepted as a female photographer in the 1960s, “Every magazine and newspaper wanted me to photograph the Beatles again. Or they wanted my old stuff, even if it was out of focus, whether they were nice or not. They wouldn’t look at my other work. It was very hard for a girl photographer in the 60s to be accepted. In the end I gave up. I’ve hardly taken a photo since 1967.” Astrid Kirchherr
To the fans of the Beatles Astrid was generous to the end, giving interviews and attending events. She shared her story of the early Beatles days. She helped to create the early magic, her beautiful spirit was a part of it, and through her photography she has ensured that those priceless formative days were preserved for all time.
Rest In Peace Astrid.