Chrysler Museum

The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk scored a huge coup when they secured Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-1964: Eyes of the Storm, an exhibition that runs through April 7, 2024. 

The images capture the dawn of the “British Invasion” through the eyes of Sir Paul himself and the lens of his very own Pentax camera. Most of them—some 250— snapped by the burgeoning shutterbug over just three months, have never been made into prints, existing as negatives and contact sheets for 60 years until now. They chronicle the exact moment in time that fundamentally transformed rock ‘n’ roll music and American society—from the height of Beatlemania to the final days of their triumphant U.S. trip—illuminating the period in which they became superstars. 

McCartney’s embrace of “snapshot” photography was influenced by the professional photographers with whom he worked, leading him to develop a uniquely down-to-earth approach that was gritty and imperfect. His images depict different scenarios the Beatles experienced—driving through streets with screaming fans and personal encounters with press photographers and random people.

“Looking at these photos now, decades after they were taken,” McCartney says about his collection, “I find there’s a sort of innocence about them. Everything was new to us at this point. But I like to think I wouldn’t take them any differently today. They bring back so many stories, a flood of special memories.” 

Paul McCartney

Chrystler Museum

Paul McCartney (English, b. 1942) Photographers, Central Park, New York, February 1964 Photograph ©1964 Paul McCartney

Traveling from the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London to Norfolk, the Chrysler will be the first venue in the United States to host this major exhibition. “The Chrysler Museum may have been appealing to the NPG and McCartney Productions Ltd. (MPL) because we offer free admission, have an internationally recognized exhibition program, and extensive educational offerings,” notes Erik Neil, the museum’s Macon and Joan Brock Director. 

But Neil also credits Senior Chrysler Curator Lloyd DeWitt for bringing the exhibition to the attention of museum leadership. “We responded quickly with strong interest,” says Neil, adding that the museum had an unexpected opening in their calendar that aligned with the exhibition’s first availability. He continues, “We are thrilled to be working in collaboration with the NPG and MPL in this extraordinary exhibition.”

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