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Old Aug 10, 2004, 05:17 PM   #1
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Default Rarely seen photos of Beatles from 1964 restored and on display in Toronto

Rarely seen photos of Beatles from 1964 restored and on display in Toronto

Tue Jul 27, 1:41 PM ET


TORONTO (CP) - When Life magazine photographer Bill Eppridge spent three days with the Beatles in 1964, there was no indication that musical history was being captured with each click of the shutter.

Although the four young Liverpudlians were likable enough, charismatic even, the then 26-year-old Eppridge's thoughts were on his next assignment - a military hot zone in Latin America.

"I thought, well it's another group of musicians, therefore another group of egos," said Eppridge, who - along with most of the press that shadowed the band during that first American visit - was quickly won over by the fab four.

"It turned into one of more delightful assignments I've ever had, rather than something I expected to be painful."

He definitely didn't expect to be standing in Toronto, 40 years later, greeting the press and enthusiastic onlookers during an exposition of his Beatles photos.

"I had no idea that this was going to happen," said Eppridge. "If I had even thought of it, I would have signed on with them and spent a few more days."

The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes, on display at BCE Place through Aug. 27, brings together the noted photojournalist's work along with pictures from the archives of CBS to document the beginnings of Beatlemania in North America - including appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show.

But Eppridge's contributions to the exhibit were almost lost forever. Life magazine ran three of his Beatles photos that week in February 1964, and then the negatives mysteriously disappeared.

"The whole take completely vanished," said Eppridge. "It was not in the files of the Time-Life building, not in the archives. We looked for them, but nothing."

Then, some 15 years later, they "just showed up on the desk in our photo lab."

By that time, the band that had changed the course of popular music had been broken up for almost a decade. Obviously, the significance of those early photos was not lost on Eppridge.

"I said 'send them to me.' Then I said 'wait a minute, don't send them to me, I'm coming to pick them up.' "

Several years ago, Eppridge was approached by CBS to add his images to an exhibition they were planning. Using digital technology, the negatives were scanned and the pictures restored by Hewlett Packard. The 84 digital prints on display in Toronto are identical to the exhibition currently on view at the Smithsonian Institution (news - web sites) in Washington, D.C.

While pictures of John Lennon (news), Paul McCartney (news), George Harrison (news) and Ringo Starr (news) in their smart suits and mop tops are by no means rare, Eppridge's photos managed to capture a more personal side of the group.

Take his snapshot of Lennon, slouched in a chair on the train from New York to Washington, legs open wide with his big black boots up against the window. It's an early glimpse of the "thoughtful" Beatle, the introspective rebel that would eventually betray the lovable mop-top image through his politics and art.

"He just found a moment of solitude," said Eppridge. "It didn't even faze him, the sound of the camera. He just kept looking out the window."

That was the photographer's approach throughout the assignment - to act as a fly on the wall and capture the band as they were.

As a result, we get Harrison dressed as a train porter, delivering sodas to his fellow passengers; the band listening to music and watching TV in their hotel room; and Starr reading a newspaper with the headline How Castro Plotted Crisis.

The latter is a sober reminder of the troubled politics of the era, and the type of story that was usually the subject of Eppridge's work.

"They were not fun times, they were not happy times," said Eppridge, who would go on to photograph war zones, the often bloody civil rights movement in the U.S. South, and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

"I want to try to help the senator, I can't help the senator, so I'll take pictures," is how Eppridge described the thought process behind his famous photo of a bus boy comforting Kennedy, just seconds after he was fatally shot.

"I had to force myself to do my job."

No wonder then, that Eppridge looks back on those three days in 1964 as something special.

"They were a bright spot," he said of the Beatles. "A great bright spot in the history of those times."
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Old Aug 10, 2004, 05:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rarely seen photos of Beatles from 1964 restored and on display in Toronto

I want to see these pictures!!!!! Anybody have a link?
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Old Aug 13, 2004, 10:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rarely seen photos of Beatles from 1964 restored and on display in Toronto

Nope, I posted an article on this earlier, they showed one photo, then the rest was about the above.
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