David Magnus caught a lucky break early in his career. After finding a job at a photography studio in London’s Jermyn Street in the early 1960s, he was despatched to shoot a young pop group playing an end of term concert at Stowe School, Buckinghamshire. That group was The Beatles, and the rest is history: the band liked the photos, and Magnus was granted access to the band throughout their career.
When the band came to film their historic All You Need Is Love broadcast in June 1967, Magnus was a natural choice to document the event, gaining exclusive access to the rehearsals and the live show. Amongst those who attended the event were Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon, Marianne Faithful, Jane Asher, Patti Boyd, Mike McGear, Graham Nash, members of the Small Faces and Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
“As I came from the EMI canteen,” says Magnus, “one of the female studio staff stopped me, put a hand on my shoulder and said to me, ‘I must touch you as you’ve been in the same room as The Beatles.’”
Several of the photographs from the shoot have become iconic, but some have never been seen in public before, and a new exhibition at Proud Galleries in Chelsea is putting that right.
The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus opened yesterday, and will run until May 14.