Paul McCartney, Astrid Kirchherr and George Harrison, 1963.
© Astrid Kirchherr

On Saturday, April 27, 1963, the Beatles played Memorial Hall in Northwich, England —— the concert poster described them as “Hit recorders of ‘Please, Please Me.’” The next day, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr flew down to Tenerife to unwind with two of their closest Hamburg pals, the graphic artist Klaus Voormann and the photographer Astrid Kirchherr. (John Lennon took his own holiday in Barcelona with the band’s manager, Brian Epstein.) For the upstart combo, it would be their first taste of the jet-set life and, in the saga of their ascent, a momentary breather about halfway up Mount Olympus.

“Nobody expected them to become that big,” Kirchherr, who took her Rolleicord camera along to document the holiday, told me last month via e-mail. “Nobody in the whole of show business had ever been that big.”

Kirchherr, who is 73, gave up photography in the late 1960s, frustrated by the unending requests for her Beatles images. Yet she remains an indelible presence in the mythology of pop. It can be a heavy legacy. “I had a great time sharing my memories, but I’m getting a bit tired of performing,” Kirchherr said. So on Sept. 24 and 25, the New York auction house Guernsey’s will lessen the burden by offering for sale Kirchherr’s entire Beatles-related photographic archive, about 600 lots in all, including her original negatives (along with the rights to their use) and rarely seen images like the ones from Tenerife.

The Beatles On The Beach, NY Times Magazine, 9/5/2011

[Note – 3 additional photos from Tenerife are offered with the story…get those bids in…]

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