Linda McCartney Retrospective – Aussie COVID Delay

A couple of weeks ago the weekend edition of my local newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, carried this front page article in it’s lift-out arts section:

The article inside also appeared in sister paper, the Melbourne Age.

(click on the images above to see larger versions)

This was announcing something of a coup for the regional Art Gallery of Ballarat in Victoria in securing what was to be a fascinating exhibition of Linda McCartney photographs called Linda McCartney: Retrospective. The exhibition was one of the main attractions of a bigger event called the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, showcasing photography and photographers from around the world. The exhibit was set to run from August 24 through to October 24.

Sadly though it has all been postponed indefinitely due to the Delta strain of the COVID-19 virus putting the whole state of Victoria into a strict lockdown. Due to a separate outbreak it has also put Sydney (where I write this today) and many parts of the state of New South Wales also into lockdown……

It is all very disappointing. This would have been the first time this extensive look back at the career of Linda McCartney (1941-1998) would have been shown in Australia. Curated by Paul McCartney, along with his daughters Mary and Stella, Linda McCartney: Retrospective features more than 200 photographs, including images of the McCartney family, the 1960s music scene, and a series of prints from the McCartney’s time in Australia between 1975 and 1993 which have never been shown before.

From the exhibit website: “Linda McCartney’s photographic career spanned from 1965 to 1997, during which [she] bore witness to the evolution of pop and youth culture as we know it. Linda’s early portraits of the burgeoning New York 1960s music scene capture the vulnerability of future world conquering rock stars. Known for her portraits of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, among many others, she was the first female photographer whose work was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, with a portrait of Eric Clapton. Linda McCartney: Retrospective showcases some of the most iconic artists and moments from the 1960s music scene alongside intimate family portraits. The photographs capture the world as she experienced it, representing the people, places and landscape around Linda in her inimitable, spontaneous and experimental style.”

The exhibition that was to be shown here has some images exclusive to Australia, but the core works have been shown at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery in 2019, and also last year at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. This video give just a taste of what we’re missing:

See also for more.

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale site says “New Dates To Be Announced“, so……fingers crossed.

Beatles Books – Hardcover….and Electronic

The general consensus from Beatle fans so far is unanimous: the cover art for Mark Lewisohn’s first volume in his series of three books is really quite amateur-looking, and I agree:lewisohn Beatles book

This is a very disappointing cover, one that doesn’t do justice to the high expectations surrounding the release of this long-awaited Beatles book. Someone of Lewisohn’s standing should get better than this. It comes out later this year.

Meanwhile, the Linda McCartney book Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs has been released in electronic/digital form on iTunes.


Linda McCartney – Life in Photographs features:

  • over 170 photographs selected from Linda’s archive of over 200,000 images—most of which users can pinch to zoom
  • forewords by Paul, Stella, and Mary McCartney, texts by Annie Leibovitz and Martin Harrison, and excerpts from interviews with Linda from BBC’s highly acclaimed 1994 “Behind the Lens” profile
  • a bonus video interview with Paul McCartney and his daughters, Stella and Mary

The collection was produced in close collaboration with Paul McCartney and his children. When it first came out in hard copy the McCartney family released a YouTube video talking about the book.

The McCartney Family Talk About “Life in Photographs”

Paul McCartney has just posted a new YouTube clip of him and daughters Mary and Stella talking about the book and exhibition project “Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs“:

The music used in the clip is Linda’s “Love’s Full Glory” from the album “Wide Prairie” (1998).

McCartney – Big Q Magazine Feature

The current (June, 2010 – Issue 287) edition of “Q” magazine has a front cover featuring an angry Paul McCartney:

This is a collector cover – one released just for subscribers to the magazine, something that publishers seem to be doing lately to get people to buy product from them rather than just down-loading or getting a copy from the newsagent. I think the newsagent copy will look like this:

The magazine contains a 26-page special feature on Paul McCartney – and its highly recommended reading. The dramatic cover photo(s), and some shots inside, are by David Bailey – who is not new to photographing the Beatles. His work in the Sixties helped define the decade – Swinging London in particular – and he photographed the Beatles from time-to-time. Here’s a photo he took a LOT earlier:

Inside the current “Q” magazine Editor-In-Chief, Paul Rees, gets to spend a month on the road with the man, interviewing him in England and the USA. We get a look at some really interesting and previously un-seen Linda McCartney photographs, and there’s a couple of pages about Paul the avant-garde member of the Fab Four. This is followed the likes of Brian Wilson, Chris Martin, Jamie Callum, Dave Grohl and Paul Weller, to name just a few giving their favourite Paul song recommendations. And finally an in-depth feature on what happened to Wings in Lagos, Nigeria during the making of 1973’s “Band on the Run”. Some really scary stuff….not the greatest place to choose to record an album, but what an album it turned out to be.

One of the best sections in the magazine is the one featuring the many rare photos by Linda McCartney. This one, of McCartney sitting on a straw bale at his farm in Scotland in 1978, is previously unpublished:

The other one I really like is a candid photograph taken during the shoot for the famous “Abbey Road” cover. The caption says: “McCartney and band banter with passer-by in a shot documenting The Beatles’s Abbey Road cover session on 8 August 1969. Note Macca’s sandals, which he’d remove for the iconic final cover picture”:

Its all pretty good stuff and I reckon well worth the cover price (no matter which cover you get).

Postscript: In a spooky co-incidence, I just found out that the very first issue of “Q” magazine, dated October 1986, also had Paul on the front cover…..Issue 001 included articles on Paul McCartney, Big Audio Dynamite, Cocaine, Bob Dylan, Lenny Henry and John Blake.