The extended Beatles family was on hand on Wednesday (September 18th) for the official launch of Linda McCartney. The Polaroid Diaries exhibit at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Paul McCartney was accompanied by his and Linda's daughters Mary & Stella, and was joined by Ringo Starr, wife Barbara Bach, and George Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison. In addition to showcasing the works, Mary and Stella took part in a public discussion about their late mother's photos and career.
Coming on November 30th will be the 236-page photo book, also titled Linda McCartney. Polaroids. As most McCartney fans have been well aware of, in addition to shooting thousands of rolls of film and slides, Linda was an avid Polaroid photographer, documenting Wings in the studio, as well as her and Paul's family life at home in London and on their Scottish farm. The book will be published through the high-end German imprint Taschen.
Paul McCartney spoke about some of the photos, telling The Financial Times, “There’s a lot of stuff taken in Scotland. Linda and I spent quite a bit of time there when the kids were young. The Beatles had just broken up, over business problems, and that had been pretty upsetting. I was at a bit of a loose end. We lived in a farmer’s croft on the Mull of Kintyre that I had bought before I met Linda, but it was quite run down and I had never visited it much. We were retreating from the world; it was really comforting to be there. We just headed north and escaped.”
McCartney went on to recall the family's love of Scotland: “It was glorious. In the evenings, you could walk outside and there would be this endless sky. In some ways, it was at the end of the world. It wasn’t that easy to get to us, which we liked, as we had been so accessible before that. I fell in love with Scotland again and wrote a song based on my love of the area, with the local pipe band. The song was so successful it got on some people’s nerves. But I loved it.”
Linda Eastman, who was a well-known New York-based photographer prior to meeting Paul in 1967 — and eventually marrying him in 1969 — made her bones as being the unofficial staff photographer at New York’s Fillmore East, along with capturing timeless images of the best of ‘60s rock.
Elvis Costello, a collaborator of Paul’s and longtime McCartney family friend, recalled why he felt Linda was such a unique photographer after looking at her portraits closely: “And they were all people who she had revealed. They had revealed something of themselves in the pictures and the people were off guard. It’s really beautiful pictures of very famous musicians. That isn’t just all in the skill of the moment that you choose to take the photograph; it’s down to your ability to be. . . for people to be at ease with you.”
Mary McCartney shed light on the reasons why her mother was able to capture the icons of the 1960's so well: “She was obsessed with rock n’ roll and she loved music and so from there she moved into photography and had a successful career in rock n’ roll photography. Taking pictures and becoming friends with Jimi Hendrix and, um, the Doors, and Animals, and Traffic. She photographed Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding — ‘cause she had a passion for it.”