Robert Whitaker (1939-2011)
Robert Whitaker was a renowned British photographer, best known internationally for his many photographs of The Beatles, taken between 1964 and 1966, and for his photographs of the rock group Cream, which were used in the Martin Sharp-designed collage on the cover of their 1967 LP Disraeli Gears.
He began his photographic career in London in the late 1950s but he moved to Melbourne in 1961, where he began studying at the University of Melbourne and became part of the small but flourishing Melbourne arts scene. According to art historian David Mellor, it was Whitaker's three years in Australia that transformed his work as a photographer. A major influence was undoubtedly his friendship with two of the leading figures of the Melbourne art world, art dealer, patron and restaurateur Georges Mora and his wife, the painter Mirka Mora.
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. "I saw Epstein was a bit of a peacock and a cavalier," said Whitaker, "and I put peacock feathers around his head in photographic relief. He was knocked out when he saw the picture."
In 2011 Robert sadly passed away after a long battle with cancer.