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Unseen ‘Beatlemania’ photos by Paul McCartney unveiled

The photos are being displayed in the National Portrait Gallery

By Emma Wilkes

'John and George' by Paul McCartney, 1963 or 1964
'John and George', from McCartney's rediscovered collection. (Photo: Paul McCartney/National Portrait Gallery)

New photos of The Beatles taken by Paul McCartney at the height of the band’s popularity have been unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery.

The photos form part of an exhibition, Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm, which will run from June 28-October 1. Taken on a Pentax camera, they capture the band members and their surroundings while they were on tour during this period of time, taking in locations such as including New York, London, Washington, Miami, Paris and the band’s native Liverpool.

An accompanying photobook, titled 1964: Eyes Of The Storm, will be released on June 13 via Penguin Press, to coincide with McCartney’s 81st birthday.

Paul McCartney performs with a guitar in The Beatles
Paul McCartney performing with The Beatles (Photo: Alamy).

In the book’s foreword, McCartney wrote of the period: “It felt like millions of eyes were suddenly upon us, creating a picture I will never forget for the rest of my life.”

Of his love of photography, he added: “The truth is that I’ve always been interested in photography, from the time I was very young, when our family owned a little box camera in the 1950s.

“I used to love the whole process of loading a roll of Kodak film into our Brownie camera.”

McCartney rediscovered the photos a few years ago, having previously thought that he had lost them. He then approached the National Portrait Gallery with the photos in 2020. “[It was] extraordinary to see these images – which are unseen – of such a well-documented, famous and important cultural moment,” the gallery’s director, Nicholas Cullinian, said when the exhibition was first announced back in January [via The Guardian]. “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.”

The National Portrait Gallery is due to re-open on June 22 after a three-year closure for refurbishment.