Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Photo mystery solved?

Mystery: When where and who?
A few days ago, we posted a photo puzzle: Who took these photos with the flag - and where and when? We had been presented with two different photo captions: One which said the photo was taken in January 1964 in Paris, the other had it from a photo call in April 1964 for future use to promote the upcoming (August) U.S. tour.

One of our readers, Stephane Fremon from France pointed us in the direction of a collector's card from 1998 with the photo, and the back says that it was taken by Dezo Hoffmann.


This gave me a clue, so I leafed through my copy of Hoffmann's book "With The Beatles". There, beside a small black and white reproduction of the photo, Hoffmann remembered having taken it immediately after they had heard the news about "I Want To Hold Your Hand" hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. So I guess these photos were taken some time between having the pillow fight (Benson) and Eppy wearing the chamber pot on his head. But then we heard from another reader...

Dezo Hoffmann's photo book from 1982
We thought we had it solved until Roland showed up. Roland Lestoquoit wrote in his commentary:
These photos were taken in Paris in 1964 by David Steen (see his book "Heroes and Villains" on Genesis Publications). The band was appearing at the Paris Olympia during three weeks and they were staying at the George V hotel. Prior to their future visit to the US, David was asked to take promo shots and borrowed the flag from the American embassy in Paris; The flag was then Army escorted from the embassy to the hotel for the session. Unfortunately, David later lost the copyright. So how come Dezo thought that he had taken the photos?

David Steen's photo book from 2005 even has the famous image on it's cover
Both Dezo Hoffman's book and David Steen's limited-to-1250-copies book are reproducing only cropped, black and white versions of the photo.

From David Steen's book
Unless something else happens, we are going to go with the David Steen version of the story. Hoffmann didn't mention an army escort from the U.S. embassy. What's a bit strange though, is an observation by another reader, McCracken, who commented: "It's a 48 star (pre 1959) flag."


Allposters are selling this art print of an alternate photo.
All photos are © copyright Apple Corps Ltd

4 comments:

Beatlesblogger said...

The photo was also used in the HMV Box Set for "The Beatles 1962-1966". It was a poster included with the set. http://beatlesblogger.com/2011/01/29/beatles-on-cd-1962-1966-the-red-album/

John Sanchez said...

I reckon it is before they left Paris. The clue would be George's hair. If you look at the photos taken of them behind a wall promoting Les Beatles at the Olympia and then the ones of them strolling about in Paris, all that happened before George got his hair cut, which you can see at the pillow fight by Hoffman. If you look at the photos of them after coving back from America, George's hair is a bit longer when they arrived and played in Holland; second clue; Ringo's hair. Follow his hair from Paris, to America and then at the hospital while the rest of them where in Holland you can see that it's growing and that the photo with the American flag backdrop it was done in Paris.

Roger Stormo said...

Beatlesblogger, you're right - I had forgotten about that. I have the red album HMV box and I just took a look at it. The poster is certainly there, but is credited just to Apple Corps Ltd. I was in New York City this weekend, and I purchased a postcard of this photo from a vendor who had a stall just by the entrance to the Strawberry Fields Forever memorial in Central Park.

DirectorDonP said...

Is it possible that they both took photos at the session? It's not unheard of (but certainly less likely in 1964) to have two photographers 'on set'. It all depends who set up the shoot (Brian?) and under what circumstances...!?