Remembering Astrid Kirchherr, the Woman Who First Photographed the Beatles—and Gave Them Their Moptops
The Beatles will forever be known as the original boy band, a status they achieved only a few years after forming in Liverpool in 1960, when fangirls started fawning over John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. But before Starr joined the group in 1962, when Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best were still around, the men—or, rather, boys—owed a major part of their success to a woman: Astrid Kirchherr, a German photographer who first stumbled upon them when she heard music coming from a club in her hometown of Hamburg. After flattering them with a request to photograph the group, leading to a trip to a local fairground that would produce their first-ever group photo, she became intimately close to its members: She was, for example, the one to first cut their hair into their iconic mop tops, which were initially favored by the local German boys Kirchherr grew up around. Her photos of The Beatles, which are now collected in a new book published by Damiani, Astrid Kirchherr with the Beatles, though, lamentably end too early: As the group found more and more fame, Kirchherr began to resent being known as “the Beatles’ photographer” and consistently having her other work dismissed, in part because she was a rare woman in the field. Decades later, though, it’s finally getting recognition, along with her influence on the band’s image, from how her relationship with Sutcliffe, the so-called “Fifth Beatle,” led to him wearing her clothes, to how she styled their first professional photo shoot. Take a look at her impact, here.