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Celebrated Photographer Michael Ward Dies

20 Apr 2011

Photographer Michael Ward and The BeatlesWe're very sad to report that after a long struggle with emphysema, Michael Ward passed away on Sunday, April 17, 2011.

Michael was a fascinating man, full of warm good humour and everyone who ever had the pleasure of meeting him will mourn him greatly.

He took up photography at the relatively late age of 29 after stints as a professional musician, model and actor. His first published photograph was in Woman's Own magazine; it was a picture of the racing driver Stirling Moss's wife, Kate, taken on a camera he'd borrowed from Stirling himself.

In 1963, on the behest of Honey magazine, he travelled to Liverpool to photograph a new pop group of whom he'd never before heard. The same day The Beatles found out they had gone to Number One for the first time, Michael spent 24 hours with the band, photographing them wandering around the streets of their hometown and rehearsing for and playing one of their last ever gigs at The Cavern club.

Such was the intensity of Michael's subsequent career, those images lay all but forgotten for 45 years. It was a great privilege for Genesis to be able to publish them, in 2008, in the limited edition A DAY IN THE LIFE. The same photographs are currently on display at the Genesis House Gallery & Reading Rooms and, in a recent review, were described as 'inspired'.

He went on to enjoy an award-winning career for the Sunday Times photographing everything from business news and beauty contests to wars and show business.

In 2006 he published his memoirs, Mostly Women, and his photographs have been exhibited at numerous galleries, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and The National Portrait Gallery, London. The latter also include a number of Michael's prints in its permanent collection.

Michael is survived by his fifth wife, the actress Elizabeth Seal, to whom he was happily married for 40 years, as well as two daughters, a step-daughter, two sons and 14 grandchildren.

Left: Michael Ward Self Portrait and his photograph of The Beatles at Pier Point Liverpool, 1963

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