Exclusive interview with photographer Henry Grossman
By Gabrielle Pantera
“There are so many stories behind the pictures,” says My Time With the Beatles photographer Henry Grossman.
“This new book is the best of my many Beatles photographs. I’m happy to share some of my favorite work and thoughts on those scenes. These are souvenirs of places I remember and some very memorable friends.”
“Even though The Beatles had lots of photographs taken of them, occasionally one of the photographers would be out of the ordinary,” says former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney who wrote the book’s introduction. “Henry Grossman was one such photographer.”
“These had been lying dormant for maybe 40 years because after Life magazine sent back the negatives and slides, I put them in my archives,” says Grossman. “I was a busy working photographer so I had other assignments to work on.”
In 1964, at 27 years old, Grossman was hired to shoot the Beatles’ first U.S. television debut at what is now their most iconic and famous performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1965 he traveled with the band to The Bahamas and Austria during the production of Help! Over the next three years, Grossman photographed private moments at home, parties and recording sessions. Grossman shot over 6,500 photographs of them, almost all of the photos unseen and unpublished until now. My Time With the Beatles is a compilation of 1,000 photos of the Fab Four shot between 1964 and 1968.
The book weighs 13 pounds and is 528 pages. Images are both color and B&W. The photographs are presented in chronological order, and Grossman gives details as to the photos and the situation for the photo that was taken.
Grossman’s editors are Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan at Curvebender Publishing. “I met Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan when they came to me in New York looking for a picture to include in their book called Recording the Beatles,” says Grossman. “I brought out a slew of contact sheets and when they saw how many there were they flipped. Brian and Kevin told me I had the largest number of unseen Beatle pictures ever. They chose a picture of the Beatles recording at Abbey Road. That book is now a standard in the recording industry with its deep research into the technical aspects of machinery, tape, engineers and so on.”
“Any one of these unpublished sessions turning up would normally be a great find,” says editor Kevin Ryan. “It was even more incredible that this many wonderful photos had gone unseen. This is not just another book of Beatles photos. This is among the most significant collection of Beatles images in existence, both artistically and historically.”
Henry Grossman was born in New York City to renowned etcher Elias Grossman who had been commissioned to do portraits of Gandhi, Einstein, Mussolini, Paul Robeson and others. After attending Brandeis he studied acting with Lee Strasberg where his classmates included Dustin Hoffman and Elliot Gould. In addition to being a photographer, Grossman performed at the Metropolitan Opera as a principal tenor and on Broadway for a run of more than 1,000 performances in Grand Hotel.
My Time With the Beatles is limited to 1,200 numbered copies and costs $495. Books one to 250 are signed by Henry Grossman and are $795. The book is housed in a clamshell box. Available at http://www.curvebender.com. Prints available at www.rockpaperphoto.com. Grossman’s website is www.henrygrossman.com.