The Beatles | Hamburg days | Photos by Astrid Kirchherr, 1960-1963

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe, from Hugo Hasse Fun Fair Session, 1960

 "Our philosophy then, because we were only little kids, was wearing black clothes and going
around looking moody. Of course, we hadn't a clue who Jean-Paul Sartre was. We got inspired
by all the French artists and writers, because that was the closest we could get. England was so
far away, and America was out of the question. So France was the nearest. So we got all the
information from France, and we tried to dress like the French existentialists...
We wanted to be free, we wanted to be different, and tried to be cool, as we call it now."

Astrid Kirchherr, 1995

Astrid Kirchherr, Self-Portrait, Hamburg, 1960                                      Stuart Sutcliffe and Astrid, 1960


"Stuart was somebody very, very special. He had a wisdom, and the ability to give so much, 
as far as feeling and love was concerned. We were young and innocent and Stuart gave all he 
had - he wasn’t the type of person who could hide anything. He gave everything fully, not 
only to me but in his devotion to art. We had loved from first sight and he’s the only man I
 met who I was sure would be ‘the one’ - he would be me and I would be him."

Astrid Kirchherr

Astrid Kirchherr: John, George & Stuart  at Heiligengeistfeld from Truck Session, 1960  / Stuart Sutcliff at the rear exit of the Star Club, 1961


'It was Hamburg that did it. That's where we really developed. To get the Germans going,
and keep it up for twelve hours at a time, we would really have to hammer. We would
never have developed as much if we'd stayed at home. We had to try anything that came
into our heads in Hamburg. There was nobody to copy from. We played what we liked
best and the Germans liked it as long as it was loud.'

 John Lennon


John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe at the Fairground, 1960
Paul McCartney and Stuart Sutcliffe at the Fairground, 1960
Stuart and Astrid, Hamburg 1961

“You know I wanna stay with you, right? I mean forever... we agree on that, right?
Are you crazy, Stuart?
No, I'm in love... but maybe that's the same thing.”

Arne Bellstorf, Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles

Stuart Sutcliffe in Hamburg, 1960
Stuart Sutcliffe, in woods near Elbe river, 1960
Stuart Sutcliffe, in woods near Elbe river, 1960
After Stuarts death - John & George in Stuart Sutcliffe’s art studio at Astrid Kirchherr’s house, 1962


 “After the death of Stuart, John and George took care of me. And they often visited my home. 
John said first: “Show me where he drew.” And I answered: “Of course.” And then I realized 
that I should take a picture. I took an old chair, and set it there. John was overwhelmed with 
emotion. He sat in a room where his friend had just worked. He almost burst into tears. 
George began to worry, and I asked him to stand behind John. It’s amazing how quickly 
George realized what was happening, that life and death had met. He just turned eighteen. 
But his eyes on the photo are full of concern for John. And John was on the verge of collapse. 
It was visible on his face."

Astrid Kirchherr

Astrid Kirchherr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, 1960          Astrid Kirchherr, George Harrison, 1960

"George was a sweet man, who, despite reflections on him by others, 
was really the least complicated of the Beatles… at least to me"

Astrid Kirchherr

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, from Chair Session, 1962

'John said in an interview that Brian Epstein had persuaded them to put on suits, and that
they didn't like it too much at first; but in truth they were well aware that it was a essential
part of being successful, and playing bigger venues like the Star Club. They weren't
shouting, 'Get this suit off me!' or 'I can't stand it!' I think they liked the suits; they'd
had made them how they'd wanted.'

 Astrid Kirchherr

Astrid Kirchherr, George and John, 1962


'I know for sure that if I hadn't have met The Beatles in 1960, 
my life would have been completely different.' 

 Astrid Kirchherr

Paul McCartney, George Harrison & Astrid Kirchherr; on vacation in Tenerife, 1963


Astrid Kirchherr (1938 – 2020) was a German photographer and artist known for her association 
with the Beatles, and her photographs of the band's original members – John Lennon, Paul 
McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best – during their early days in Hamburg.

Max Scheler, Astrid Kirchherr in front of The Cavern Club in Liverpool, 1964


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