Astrid Kirchherr, who died on May 15th at age 81, was more than just a photographer whose path crossed that of the Beatles at a crucial moment. As a friend to the band in their Hamburg years, she was rumored to have talked them into trying the mop-top haircut favored by her art-school friends. “Astrid was the one who influenced our image more than anyone else,” George Harrison would later recall. “It made us look good.” More importantly, she helped define their early image with the series of cool, Rebel Without a Cause-ish black-and-white portraits she took of the band in 1960. Their line-up was still coming together back then — the photos show John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison with bassist Stu Sutcliffe and drummer Pete Best — and it’s fair to say that Kirchherr’s photos helped invent the entire idea of the Beatles. A few years later, when they were world-famous, she rejoined her friends as a photographer on the set of A Hard Day’s Night. Here are some of the late photographer’s most iconic images.
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