Beatles on the Balcony
The Beatles (Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney)
by Robert Whitaker
The Beatles on the Balcony visually celebrates the world's most successful pop group by charting their formation and image changes over an eight-year period. The starting point for this display is the work of Angus McBean, the Welsh-born photographer who made iconic images of the band at both ends of their career.
The greater part of The Beatles' iconography is traced through the leading photographers represented here. Dezo Hoffmann became the group's first semi official photographer following them from their Cavern days to tours in Paris and America. Succeeding Hoffmann was Robert Freeman, who came to prominence with his moody black and white photograph showing the group wearing black roll necks, for their second album, With the Beatles. This was followed swiftly by his colour work for the albums A Hard Day's Night, Beatles For Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul. Brian Epstein, The Beatles' enigmatic manager, subsequently employed Robert Whitaker for several shoots, and his controversial 'Butcher' cover image for the American album release Yesterday and Today is displayed here. David Bailey's images from his Box of Pin Ups (1965) and Richard Avedon's posters from 1967 herald The Beatles in their psychedelic phase, at the time of the Sgt. Pepper cover, which was staged by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth and photographed by Michael Cooper.
Some of the last photographs of the Beatles as a group were taken by Linda McCartney. The ten images shown here were generously given by her estate through the auspices of MPL Communications Ltd.
The National Portrait Gallery would particularly like to thank Dave Brolan, Picture Editor for Special Projects on Q and Mojo magazines, for his help in curating this display and the authors of The Beatles' London (St Martins Press, 1994): Adam Smith, Piet Schreuders and Mark Lewisohn.
Bodelwyddan Castle, North Wales
26 July - 28 September 2008