Brain Pickings

August 22, 1969: The Beatles’ Final Photo Shoot

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The Fab Four with Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney at Tittenhurst Park.

It’s a been a booming era for rediscovered Beatles photos, from the famous lost Beatles photographs taken by their tour manager to Linda McCartney’s tender portraits to Harry Benson’s luminous black-and-white photos of the Fab Four.

On this day in 1969, two days after their final recording session, the Beatles gathered at Tittenhurst Park, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono resided, for a photo shoot they didn’t realize would be their last — an instance of those bittersweet “unknown lasts” that wedge themselves between our lived experience and our memory, sometimes violently and other times with the tender wistfulness of nostalgia.

The cast of characters on that fateful August 22, captured by photographers Ethan Russell and Monte Fresco and Beatles assistant Mal Evans, included the Fab Four, Yoko Ono, a very pregnant Linda McCarney (a photographer herself), Apple Corps’ press officer Derek Taylor, Paul McCartney’s sheepdog Martha, and two donkeys Lennon and Ono kept on the property.

Linda shot some 16mm footage on my camera. That turned out to be the last film taken.” ~ Paul McCartney

It was just a photo session. I wasn’t there thinking, ‘OK, this is the last photo session.'” ~ Ringo Starr

Beatles Bible

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