In 1963, Paul Berriff was a 16 year old kid with a Rollie camera and the ambition to be a professional photographer.
He talked his way into gaining access to a young Liverpool band in hopes of gaining media credentials. Over the next two years, Berriff captured a series of incredible, intimate portraits of John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Not much was made of the pictures in the early 1960s. The negatives were stored in a tin box and forgotten about until their rediscovery in 2009. The best of those pictures are currently hanging in the Beatles Hidden Gallery in Liverpool. And if you ever have a chance to see them, do it.
At the time Berriff didn't know that the Beatles would become pop legends. But he did know they were popular enough in Liverpool to warrant attention. This is how some photographers become famous.
In his case, it's a combination of fearlessness, initiative, skill, and luck. We don't have any control over the fourth component, but the first three are often characteristics of successful artists. You could say the same about the Beatles, right?
My day in Liverpool was inspiring. The journey of the Beatles, Brian Epstein, and George Martin demonstrates how art and business can come together.
I didn't discover the work of Paul Berriff until the end of the day. What a finishing touch. A 16 year old kid talks his way backstage, shoots existing light with Tri-X and a Rollie, and created some of the most memorable portraits of the Beatles that I've ever seen.
Two great stories.
One day in Liverpool.