Beatles photographer Ethan Russell talks 'Get Back' book, the Rolling Stones, and The Who – Press Telegram – California News Times

Young Ethan Russell decided to become a photographer when he saw Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 iconic film “Desire.”
After his father bought him a camera, Russell began exploring the rock scene in his hometown of San Francisco before leaving for London. He didn’t find the swaying scene he wanted to find there, but after a long dry spell he took on the task of taking pictures of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. His photos captured his love for each other, and shortly after, Russell was in the studio and took the photo while the Beatles were recording the album that became “Let It Be.”
These photos (along with Linda McCartney’s photos) are included in Callaway Arts & Entertainment’s new shiny book, The Beatles: Get Back, which will be released on October 12th. This book is a companion to Peter Jackson’s Apple + documentary, revisiting the invisible hours of band footage that captured the band when it broke up. Russell also took the last photo of the group.
From there, the photographer moved on to other rock legends, photography tours, album covers, The Rolling Stones and The Who books. In addition to the “Get Back” book, his photographs (also taken by Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, etc.) are included in his new photobook. (((
Russell says he has never taken a photography course. “Although the barriers to entry for photography are low, it can be said that the person operating the camera cannot see what is there,” he said in an interview with Zoom. “The central act is to look at the picture. If you don’t see it, you can’t shoot it.”
He admits that he succeeded in capturing the childhood moments he spent hunting the Blue Jays on his parents’ ranch. “You have to be really quiet, you can’t move fast, you have to find a place where you might see something, you have to be able to see it, And you get one shot. “
“The Beatles: Get Back” (Photo courtesy of Linda McCartney / © Paul McCartney)
Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, Apple Studios, January 24, 1969. (Photo provider: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.)
January 30, 1969, Apple Rooftop Beatles and Movie Crew. (Photo provider: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.)
John Lennon, Road Manager Mal Evans, Yoko Ono Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Twickenham Film Studios, January 13, 1969. (Photo provider: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.)
George Harrison of Apple Studios, January 25, 1969. (Photo provider: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.)
John Lennon and George Harrison at Apple Studios, January 22, 1969. (Photo provider: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.)
Paul McCartney on the Apple Rooftop, January 30, 1969. (Photo provider: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.)
The Beatles at the Twickenham Film Studio, January 7, 1969. (Photo provider: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.)
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Q. How did you get this job?
One day I was talking about a previous photo of John and Yoko. I said I was going to the studio. They told me they didn’t need me, but I got off anyway.Neil when I got down there [Aspinall, an Apple executive] He appeared and said, “We have decided to take you down.” So I went and got a camera. No one told me what to do.
Neil said, “You can come all day.” And I said, “I will not do it for three days.” I don’t understand why these things come out of my mouth. After that, I showed the photo to press agent Derek Taylor. [Apple executive] Peter Brown’s office. I used to project pictures on the walls, they looked good and it was hell as a place to take pictures. I used it well and took big wide shots.
Suddenly Paul McCartney came in and John came with Yoko and George Harrison. They hired me for a longer period after they saw the pictures. Then someone said, “I should do a book,” and I went to balance the shoot. [The book was released in the English version of the “Let It Be” album but not in America.]
Q. You said that you are impressed with the band’s work ethic, but you are feeling nervous. Were you trying to capture both truths?
The photo is typical. It’s not an abstract process. You can use photos to express your mood, but you’re swimming upstream against the capabilities of technology. Technology just says it’s there. I felt like it, but I wasn’t trying to catch it. I’m just taking a picture. The biggest value I offer is not “look at this cool photo” but it makes you feel like you’re in the room with the Beatles.
Q. You were in the room. How was it when you heard them make new music?
Rather sadly, I didn’t hear. All my gifts are in my eyes. It’s like putting a camera there and putting it on. It’s ridiculous that I was sitting there and the Beatles were making records in front of me. Later on the Stones tour, people would say, “It was a great show.” Just shrug your shoulders. I didn’t listen.
Q. Did you have a favorite shot of Stones that you’ve been with for a long time?
One is Keith Richards, who is rehearsing, bending his guitar with an amp that is blurred against the backdrop of Charlie Watts. It’s 100% natural, I didn’t put it on. And since he was Keith before he became a pharmacy, he is doing what he likes best.
There is a famous shot of Mick [Jagger] And Keith from behind the stage. That’s when I realized it was a great angle because I was looking at what the band was looking at.
I also love the shots Keith and Mick talking to hero Chuck Berry. Stanley Booth, who wrote a book about the Stones, writes that Keith was so affectionate that he looked like a “little English schoolboy.”
Q. You love to capture that moment, but you’re willing to perform it, like a shot at Richards’ airport standing under the cover of “America Without Drugs” or “Who’s Next.” Also proved.
As a working photographer, you do what you think will work. As a rule, I didn’t change anything, but I was waiting at customs, so I looked at the sign and said, “It was good not to miss.” I called on both Mick and Keith to come. Keith came first and after a couple of shots, a customs officer said, “Stop, or you’ll confiscate your movie.”
The cover of “Who’s Next” was made completely improvised. They had no covers and the album was almost complete.One day we were driving in the rain and Pete [Townshend] Traveling at 100mph, he says nothing when passing through these shapes, but there is a roundabout and he slows down. There is no roundabout or Who’s Next cover. At that moment, he said, “I have some ideas,” and I told him about these shapes.
The moment you see the monolith, you think of “2001”. [Roger] With Daltrey [John] Entwistle began to behave like apes in the movie. In my book I have the entire contact sheet for a band doing apes. But that wasn’t good on the cover.
Then I looked up and Pete had [urinated] in addition. It was real. Others couldn’t, so I watered it and made it look like they had. It’s show business. And we are on the road again at 100 mph. I just say, “I hope this works.”
However, the actual sky was gray that day, so the sky in the photo was taken another day.
Q. Please tell us about the black-and-white photo book you created to tell the story of The Who’s iconic rock opera “Quadrophenia.” [It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Album Package.]
Even before I went to England, I loved the black and white English movie “A Taste of Honey” and, of course, “A Hard Day’s Night”. The black-and-white photographs of British photographer Bill Brandt were also very inspiring to me. But in England I was a rock star and worked in color, so I decided to use black and white for this book.
I think the songwriter was the most important writer of my generation, so I wanted to understand what Pete was saying and incorporate it into my photography. When I delivered the artwork of 80 boards. “I think you said it’s going to be six pages,” Pete said. [Russell shrugs and laughs] I said, “I may have, but this is what I have now.”
This book was dull and the paper was intentionally newspaper, so I was able to make it as cheap as possible. The English didn’t care because they knew about mods and rockers, but the book was said to have helped Americans evaluate the album in ways they could never get otherwise. I work for a record company and The Who.
Beatles photographer Ethan Russell talks ‘Get Back’ book, the Rolling Stones, and The Who – Press Telegram Source link Beatles photographer Ethan Russell talks ‘Get Back’ book, the Rolling Stones, and The Who – Press Telegram