Photographer Henry Grossman's Unique Eye on the Beatles

Shot Thousands of Pics of the Fab Four During Five-Year Run

Places He Remembers: Grossman captured this image of the Beatles with the Maharishi, their spiritual advisor.
© 2012 Henry Grossman
Places He Remembers: Grossman captured this image of the Beatles with the Maharishi, their spiritual advisor.

By Curt Schleier

Published March 06, 2013, issue of March 01, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Henry Grossman wasn’t a fan of the Beatles when he first started photographing them in 1964, but he would become intimately familiar with the group, snapping thousands of photographs of the Fab Four over the next five years. More than 1,000 of these photos have been collected in his new limited edition book, “Places I Remember: My Time With the Beatles.” There are just 1,200 copies in print, and they retail at a whopping $495 a pop. The foreword is written by none other than Paul McCartney.

Grossman’s repertoire, however, goes far beyond pop music. His subjects included some of the biggest names of the ’60s, from politicians (David Ben-Gurion and John F. Kennedy, to name two) to writers (e.e. cummings and Robert Graves) to actors (Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton — at their wedding).

Video: Nate Lavey

Grossman, 76, comes from a family of artists. His father, Elias Grossman, did etchings of Einstein and Gandhi and his depiction of the Western Wall earned him a prize from the Library of Congress. Many of his works were published in the Forward. “So,” the younger Grossman said, “I’m very familiar with the Forward.”

Grossman spoke with the Forward’s Curt Schleier about photographing the Beatles and about the time that Kirk Douglas teased him for working on Yom Kippur.

Curt Schleier: You first met the Beatles when you were assigned to photograph their initial appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Were you familiar with the group at the time?

Henry Grossman: No. I only knew that they were famous. I wasn’t listening to their music at all. I’m a classical music lover. Opera and some Broadway were my forte. I didn’t care for rock music. I heard them on the show, and I enjoyed the music. I didn’t quite understand it. I loved the fact that people were screaming and taking up photogenic postures.

You received additional assignments to photograph them, in the Bahamas and in Austria, where they were filming “Help.” Somehow, over that period your relationship with them seemed to go from professional to personal. How did that happen?

It was probably a matter of personality. I love people. I’m curious. I liked them a lot. I was learning from them. I was having fun with them. When we were in Austria, George said, “When we get back to London, can you take pictures of [my wife], Pattie [Boyd,] and me?” Later we visited John. I wasn’t seizing the moment to pose them in funny ways; I was just around them. I was like a fly on the wall. I was there at a lot of important moments. I was with them the day [their manager], Brian Epstein, died.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.