18 May 2020
Late last week, on Friday 15th May, we were saddened to learn of Astrid Kirchherr's passing. Astrid's beautiful photographs documented The Beatles from before they were famous, having become friends with the group during their residency in Hamburg. In 1960, Klaus Voormann, who was dating Astrid at the time, took her to see The Beatles who were performing at the Kaiserkeller. It was a meeting at this nightclub that led to a lifelong friendship between Astrid and the band. Her shots of The Beatles taken at Hamburg's Hugo Haase fairground, the group's first formal photo session, have since become iconic, as have her striking portraits taken with the individual band members.
'When I think of all the pictures I did - when I look at them now - I can see a change. Nobody will ever see it but me, but it's about what those boys went through in a very short period.' - Astrid Kirchherr
Many of Astrid's photographs have been published with Genesis and, over time, she became an important part of the Genesis story. Astrid was good friends with the company's founder, Brian Roylance, and all the Genesis family, and Brian collaborated with Astrid on their first book together, Liverpool Days (1994). Along with fellow photographer Max Scheler, Astrid travelled to London to shoot the Beatles on the set of A Hard Day's Night and in their London homes. From there the pair travelled to Liverpool to photograph the Beatles' haunts, other Liverpool groups and to record lunchtime sessions at The Cavern Club. The result was an amazing collection of photographs, and Liverpool Days marked the first of a series of books.
Astrid went on to produce Golden Dreams (1996) and a two-volume collaboration with Klaus Voormann, Hamburg Days (1999), as well as participating in other editions featuring her work, such as BIG: Beatles In Germany and Stuart, which celebrates the life and art of Stuart Sutcliffe. Astrid's final book that she created with Genesis, When We Was Fab (2003), was dedicated to the memory of George Harrison.
We are honoured to have published her timeless photography.
Since 1974 Genesis has created signed limited edition books on behalf of authors and artists ranging from the Beatles to Buckingham Palace.
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