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!
  • "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?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • 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.