Ringo Starr's lost Beatles photographs go on show

New show and book of unearthed photos reveal rare moments from the Beatles' early years

The Beatles
(Image credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr has launched a show at the National Portrait Gallery of newly-found photographs that he took decades ago and then forgot about. Starr decided to put the photos on display to the public after coming across thousands of undeveloped negatives in storage boxes that he had not opened for nearly 30 years, reports The Guardian.

Many of them are images of Starr's former bandmates, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, relaxing and playing, while some feature moments from their first visit to the US in 1964.

Speaking at the gallery, Ringo said he had always been a keen photographer but was a late starter. "Growing up, we didn't have cameras. I've got like six or seven photos from being christened until I was 18. Then I got into the cameras and now there are a lot of photos."

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While many early images of The Beatles exist, most of the ones that have been made available to the public were taken by the media and professional photographers such as Dezo Hoffman and Bob Freeman. Ringo's photographs come from the more intimate perspective of a fellow bandmate.

"These are shots that no one else could have taken," he said. "Together, they chart the story of four lads from Liverpool trying to live normal lives amidst the frenzy that surrounded them."

While twenty of the unearthed photos have gone on display at the gallery, around 250 have also been turned into a book called Photograph to be published later this month, reports Rolling Stone. It says the book contains "charming shots of the Beatles lounging and goofing off".

Starr playfully dubbed the cover photo, featuring a picture of himself holding a camera and looking into a mirror, "the first selfie".

He also put out a call to McCartney, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison (George Harrison's widow) to explore their personal photo archives for a potential follow-up project.

"The other boys had cameras too, so the next plan is I want to get the rest of my pictures, Paul's pictures; Yoko will have John's pictures, Olivia, George's," he said. "It would make a great book. I'll be in a lot more photos... If I put it out there, they might respond."

He added: "If they're listening. Dig out the negatives."

The 20 limited-edition portraits on display at the gallery are up for sale, with proceeds going to charity. The book is published on 21 September.

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