The year was 1964 and The Beatles were on top of the world. The band was dominating the charts, just set off its first world tour, and had just made its silver-screen debut–and luckily for us, it was all captured on film. Photographer Harry Benson was about to board a plane to Uganda when his editor at The Daily Express called him. The editor said there’d been a change of plans and he would be spending the next few months photographing the then-emerging rock band from Liverpool while they were in Paris. In the coming months, he followed John, George, Ringo, and Paul as they hung out in hotel rooms, got ready backstage, and played at sold-out venues across the globe. Benson’s photographs from those early days would prove to be the most intimate images of the band to date and would serve generations to come. And even when the band broke up a few years later, Benson remained close with Paul McCartney and continued photographing the musician’s new creative pursuits. His rich career that spans almost five decades is archived in Benson’s latest book aptly titled, Paul. Featuring more than 100 photographs, this visual tour de force chronicles the artist’s evolution from performer to icon, father to husband. And in the process, Benson documents the life of one of the world’s best-known recording artists, one who has remained relatively guarded until now. Through the lens of the Scottish photographer, audiences get a glimpse into Paul’s life not just during the Beatles, but several years after; he’s also seen in the recording studio with Linda and at his quiet farm in the United Kingdom, surrounded by family. Just in time for Sir Paul’s 80th birthday, Benson’s photographs celebrate the life and making of the world’s most beloved musician. And if the book is a testament to anything, it’s quite a celebration, indeed.

You can order the book via Taschen here.

Contact sheet of an animated Paul on stage during a Wings Over America performance. USA, 1976. Credit: Harry Benson.
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