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Robert Whitaker: Backstage with The Beatles

© Robert Whitaker

Photographing the driving forces and icons of the 1960s and 1970s, Robert Whitaker shot famous celebrities from Mick Jagger to Salvador Dalí, however his most celebrated and enduring work is of The Beatles who he visually captured from 1964 to 1966, in professional settings, candid moments and everyday situations.  

He first came into contact with The Beatles in 1964, when they toured Australia. Whitaker was asked to photograph the band's manager, Brian Epstein, for a feature in Melbourne's Jewish News. Epstein was so delighted with the resulting photos that he asked Whitaker to become the staff photographer at NEMS and capture all his artists, including The Beatles.

We are delighted to showcase a fantastic selection of Robert Whitaker's limited edition prints of this famous and celebrated work. Please click here to see our complete portfolio.

Here are a few of our favourites.

© Robert Whitaker

One of the earliest Beatles shots that Robert Whitaker captured is this formal photo shoot image - fondly known as 'Umbrella'.

The Beatled stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel on the banks of Loch Earn, Scotland during their 1964 tour, after playing gigs in Edinburgh and Dundee.

Whitaker shot them holding two large striped umbrellas with the Loch for background on the 20th October. Inspired by surrealist aesthetics and spurred by his interest in Dalí, Whitaker and the four Beatles co-composed the image

Robert Whitaker recalled "All four were very inventive and spontaneous. I asked them to jump up on the wall. They grabbed these umbrellas, and then John .... well, look at him in that photo. He's levitating".

This images is available to buy here

© Robert Whitaker

This alluring image was photographed in the garden of John Lennon's Weybridge home in 1965 - the year that the Beatles received their MBEs in recognition of the worldwide 'Beatlemania' phenomenon.

John Lennon had a taste for the bizarre and surreal in the visual arts, and in the presentation of his own image. Robert Whitaker claimed this as one of his favourite images and acknowledges the inspiration being a meditation on Narcissus. It is entitled 'Admiration'.

This images is available to buy here

© Robert Whitaker

This is one of Robert Whitaker's later shots of the fab four taken at Chiswick Prk Gardens, London during the making of the promotional films for the singles Rain & Paperback Writer. The films were directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

Although by today's standards the videos were comparably slow-moving, they have many of the typical characteristics of music videos: quick editing, and artistic close-ups.

Guitarist George Harrison (1943-2001) remembered "The idea was that we'd use them in America as well as the UK, because we thought, we can't go everywhere. We're stopping touring and we'll send these films out to promote the record... these days obviously everybody does that - its part of the promotion for a single - so I suppose in a way we invented MTV."

This image is available to buy here 

 

It was Whitaker's close relationsip with the band that allowed him to take such personal and candid photographs, which is reflected throughout his extraordinary collection.

Whitaker stated in 1966: ''All over the world I'd watched people worshipping like idols, like gods, four Beatles. To me they were just stock standard normal people."

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Robert Whitaker was a renowned British photographer, best known for his many photographs of The Beatles, taken between 1964 & 1966.

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This iconic 'Umbrella' image was taken in Scotland in 1964 on the banks of Loch Earn.

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A very relaxed looking John Lennon taken by photographer Robert Whitaker at his studio in London.

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