9/11 survivor stages exhibition of forgotten Beatles photographs (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Bedale survivor of 9/11 stages Leyburn exhibition of Beatles photographs
A SERIES of unguarded photographs of The Beatles before they were famous - which laid forgotten in a loft for 50 years – are on display in a small North Yorkshire town.
Throughout his life, documentary-maker and photographer Paul Berriff has always happened to find himself in the middle of major global news stories as they’ve broken.
He was filming a documentary with New York’s police force on September 11 when the twin towers were struck. The towers collapsed all around him and after being knocked unconscious for 25 minutes he managed to crawl to safety through the rubble.
He was also onboard a helicopter when it was involved in a major crash in Scotland, has jumped from a sinking ship in the North Sea , been “blown off the side of a volcano” when it erupted whilst he was on holiday in Nicaragua and was at the scene when the Piper Alpha oil platform exploded.
But his experiences of photographing a moderately famous band called the Beatles in 1963 were largely forgotten until he discovered a cardboard box of the photographs in the loft of his Bedale home 18 months ago, whilst deciding to revisit his hobby.
The photographs were taken when Mr Berriff was 16, studying at night school to become a reporter and working during the day as an editorial assistant at the Yorkshire Evening Post.
On an evening he would walk round Leeds taking photographs to try and improve his photographic skills.
In June 1963 he persuaded theatre manager of the Leeds Odeon to let him photograph The Beatles backstage, who were then bottom of a billing headlined by Helen Shapiro and Jerry and the Pacemakers.
He struck up a rapport with the band members – who were a similar age to the young photographer – and gained a series of candid shots of them.
Now an exhibition of 38 images taken at Leeds and later other venues in the North has been put together.
After having been on display at Harvey Nichols in Dubai, San Francisco and Prague, they are now being exhibited in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.
He said: “There were no PRs, it was just them in their wool suits and ties. I think that’s what makes them special. I just blended in the background and got these candid shots.
“I captured them just as it was all taking off.”
• The pictures are on currently on display at Wensleydale Galleries until November 18.
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