Project Description

The Beatles: In The Beginning

Photographs by Astrid Kirchherr and Sandro Sodano

Exhibition runs 19 October to 16 November 2019

In our new exhibition we present the work of two photographers who, in their own distinct way, and separated by a gap of over forty years, created compelling images documenting important aspects of The Beatles’ early years in Hamburg and Liverpool.

Astrid Kirchherr photographed the band in black leather in 1960.

Sandro Sodano photographed that same black leather in 2002.

Astrid Kirchherr

“Astrid was the one, really, who influenced our image more than anybody. She made us look good. She was the one who had the leather kecks and the Beatles haircut.” – George Harrison

A protégé of the renowned Hamburg-based photographer Reinhart Wolf, Astrid Kirchherr, befriended The Beatles in 1960 when they were a five piece featuring Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. She first photographed them in that same year, and her well-known Hamburg funfair portraits of that five piece line-up were the band’s first proper professional photographic session. She became engaged to Stuart Sutcliffe, who left the band and stayed with her in Hamburg. She continued on her path as a photographer after Stuart’s untimely death.

John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe, Hamburg, 1960

Sandro Sodano

The Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool needs no introduction to Beatles aficionados. The club was set up by Pete Best’s mother, Mona, and on Saturday 29 August 1959, The Quarrymen (with a line-up at the time consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ken Brown) played at the club’s opening night. 

In 2002, professional photographer Sandro Sodano visited the Casbah Coffee Club to photograph the interiors and a collection of objects at the club’s premises belonging to the Best family. The photographs document a rich variety of objects, and include original clothing and instruments from those very early days, along with later items such as the strip of medals worn by John Lennon for the Sgt. Pepper cover shoot in 1967, and a huge doll that appeared in the All You Need is Love TV screening. Sandro photographed the leather jacket and trousers that Pete Best wore in Hamburg, the same ones he wore when he was photographed by Astrid in 1960.

For the first time, Sandro is offering collectors the chance to purchase signed limited edition photographs in a choice of sizes, including a small physical size deliberately chosen to allow collectors to display a number of pieces together on the wall. 

Guitar strings, Casbah Coffee Club

Installation photographs

A selection of photographs from the gallery installation, October 2019.