Tuesday, May 19, 2020

RIP Astrid Kirchherr

Astrid and Stu Sutcliff. He died at age 21. She outlived him by 60 years.
Just found out that Astrid Kircherr, the Hamburg photographer and fiancee of Stu Sutcliff died on Friday.

The Beatles met Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann around the same time. According to the NYT obit:
Ms. Kirchherr discovered the Beatles through her boyfriend at the time, Klaus Voormann, a fellow art student. After a quarrel, Mr. Voormann left her house; walking past the Kaiserkeller, he was drawn to the Beatles’ high-energy sound.
Voorman, as any true Beatles fan knows, was responsible for creating the cover of the Beatles album Revolver, one of the greatest album covers of all time.

The only two pieces of art I've ever purchased for myself are two signed prints from Kirchherr's Funfair series. I have the portraits of John and Paul with Sutcliff standing in the background of each:

Side note: in December of this year John Lennon will have been dead for 40 years.

Per the NYT again:
Collecting the musicians and their instruments in her Volkswagen, Ms. Kirchherr brought them to a fairground, where she shot both individual and group portraits in stark black and white...
...“It was early in the morning, because I only used daylight,” Ms. Kirchherr told The Age, a newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, in 2005. “So the poor guys had to get up very early. They only stopped playing at four o’clock in the morning, and we met about nine or 10.”
Now you can buy her photos from Snap Galleries, but back in 2004 I bought the prints directly from Kirchherr's own company. As the Times notes:
In 1988, she and Ulf Kr├╝ger, a German musician, started K & K, a Hamburg shop that sold vintage photography and books.
I couldn't believe how reasonable the prints were back then... around $200 each. Now they've gone up in price to about $1000 each. Not very much for 16 years.

Thanks for the memories, Astrid Kirchherr.