The 275 photographs were taken on 35mm film between December 1963 and February 1964 in a variety of locations, including New York, London, Washington, Miami, Paris and the band’s native Liverpool. McCartney thought he had lost them, but rediscovered them a few years ago.
The exhibition, Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm, “will provide a uniquely personal perspective on what it was like to be a Beatle at the start of Beatlemania,” said Nicholas Cullinan, the NPG’s director [via The Guardian].
“The photographs taken in this period captured the very moment that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were propelled from being the most popular band in Britain to an international cultural phenomenon, from gigs in Liverpool and London to performing on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York to a television audience of 73 million people.
“At a time when so many camera lenses were on the band, these photographs will share fresh insight into their experiences, all through the eyes of Sir Paul McCartney.”
McCartney first approached the NPG in 2020 with the photographs. “[It was] extraordinary to see these images – which are unseen – of such a well-documented, famous and important cultural moment,” Cullinan continued. “They’re taken by someone who was really, as the exhibition title alludes, in the eye of the storm looking outside at what was happening.”
McCartney also plans to publish a book of the photographs to coincide with his 81st birthday in June.
The National Portrait Gallery is due to reopen on June 22 after a three year refurbishment. Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm will run from June 28 to October 1.