Astrid Kirchherr, Beatles photographer, dies aged 81

Astrid Kirchherr, who passed away last week aged 81, will forever be associated with the Beatles. Not only was she the first to photograph the band, in Hamburg in 1960, and to continue to produce images that are iconic and immediately recognisable, but it was she who was responsible for the "mop-top" hairstyle that was to set the band apart from the rest.

Stuart Sutcliffe


The young photographer was to strike up a romance with the Beatles' original bass player, Stuart Sutcliffe (pictured left), who became her model for the style.

Sutcliffe himself was to die tragically young. Having left the band to pursue his artistic ambitions, and having become engaged to Kirchherr he enrolled at the Hamburg college of art where he was to study under the future pop artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, who later wrote a report stating that Sutcliffe was one of his best students.

It was there, on April 10th 1962, at the age of 21 that he was to suffer a massive brain haemorrhage: he died in Kircherr's arms in an ambulance on his way to hospital.

Often remembered as "the lost Beatle", he was credited, along with John Lennon, of naming the band as an acknowledgement of the influence of Buddy Holly whose backing band was known as "The Crickets".

The rest is history.


Kirchherr said of Sutcliffe in 2010 "He was, and still is, the love of my life".

Sutcliffe Kirchherr

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

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