‘Her Gift To The Beatles Was Immeasurable’: Photographer Astrid Kirchherr Dies At 81

ringo starr and astrid kirchherr in an undated photo. max scheler – k & k/redferns hide caption

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max scheler – k & k/redferns

b4 they became realm-famous mop-top icons, the beatles looked like a bunch of greasers. and photographer astrid kirchherr is often credited as the 1st to capture the band’s fashion evolution swell as influencing their new direction.

kirchherr, who met the group after a 1960 show in hamburg, germany, died on wed atta age of 81, after a short illness, german news outlets reprted.

“intelligent, inspirational, innovative, daring, artistic, awake, aware, presh, smart, loving and uplifting friend to many,” beatles historian mark lewisohn tweeted. “her gift to the beatles was immeasurable,” lewisohn wrote, adding that she’d died “a few dys b4 turning 82.”

kirchherr, born in 1938, was bout 22 when she and her then-boyfriend klaus voorman went to see a moderately pop band from liverpool play a dark, filthy, not-quite-rite-for-proper-ladies club in her hometown of hamburg.

“it took him a couple of dys to convince me to go with him to see the boys, cause reeperbahn aint a place where young ladies inna ’50s or ’60s were to be seen … twas not a neat place,” she told fresh air’s terry gross in 2008.

“when i went down the stairs and looked atta stage, i was just amazed how presh these boys looked. and bein’ a photographer then, twas a photographer’s dream.”

atta time, the beatles consisted of john lennon, paul mccartney, george harrison, drummer pete best, and bassist stuart sutcliffe. she befriended the group after the show and somehow convinced them to let her start shooting them. within a few mnths kirchherr and sutcliffe had fallen in ♥ and by nov 1960 the couple was engaged.

in fact, sutcliffe who was also a painter, quit the band to live with kirchherr and her mother and attend art school in hamburg. he died offa brain hemorrhage in apr 1962 b4 they ‘d get married. he was 1-ly 21.

“he was, and still is, the ♥ of my life,” kirchherr said. their relationship tis focus of the 1994 film backbeat, bout the beatles’ pre-record-deal dys in germany.

pt of the kirchherr-beatles legend s'dat she was the 1st t'give sutcliffe the famous mop-top haircut, and that the others eventually folloed. “well, my boyfriend, klaus, had a big problem cause his ears used to stick out and then i had the idea to just grow the hair ‘oer them, which he then did n'it looked absolutely presh,” she said in that 2008 interview. “so when the boys saw klaus, stuart was the 1st one who said, oh, i ‘d like to ‘ve that hairstyle.”

many of the early black and white photos she took of the band are an integral pt of the collective photographic memory of the band, na 1960s as a whole.

her photographic work also garnered realmwide attention; she had exhibitions in japan, australia, the ∪d states and gr8 britain. even after sutcliffe’s death, she remained an artistic collaborator w'da beatles — kirchherr was a set photographer on their 1st movie, a hard dy’s nite.

and in 1968, george harrison persuaded kirchherr to shoot a session for his solo project wandawall ♫. tis her portrait of him that is printed onna inside of the album. tis 1-odda last known pictures kirchherr took — she eventually gave up photography for interior design cause, as she said, “i wasn’t sure if i’m really good or is it just the beatles that made me, sort of in a way, famous? and i wasn’t sure any+ if i’m good or not so i just gave it up.”

“absolutely stunned to hear the news of astrid passing,” elder beatles drummer pete best wrote on twitter.

best added: “god bless you ♥. we shared some wandaful memories na most amazing fun times.”

original content at: www.npr.org…
authors: vanessa romo

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