The Story About Tom Murray’s Mad Day Out with the Beatles

In the summer of 1968, The Beatles had noticed that whenever a news article reported their current activities, it was accompanied by a photograph of them wearing their psychedelic fashions from the year before; or worse yet, a picture of them as the loveable mop-tops from the “Beatlemania” era.  The press no longer had the opportunity to photograph the group since they hadn’t performed in concert since 1966, and they were making fewer and fewer public appearances together.  Consequently, the media never had current pictures of the ever-evolving group.  With the exception of a very brief photo session in EMI recording studios on February 8th, The Beatles hadn’t posed for any group photos in 1968.  A plan was made to shoot some new photographs for the media, “with a difference”.

In the midst of recording sessions for their next record “The White Album”, the group chose to stage their photo-shoot as a Mad Day Out, photographed at random locations in London, on Sunday July 28th1968.  Paul’s then girlfriend, Francie Schwartz was asked to select the locations that would act as suitable photographic sites.

Veteran war photographer Don McCullin was brought in to act as primary cameraman and asked  Mr. Murray to give him a lift to a publicity shoot of an unnamed popular rock and roll group; he suggested that Tom bring along his camera and take a few snaps.  Murray was one of the select few people given carte blanche to photograph The Beatles in 1968, a year when they kept themselves away from photographers as much as possible.

“At first they were fed up of having pictures taken so they stopped doing shoots altogether”, remembers Murray, “but when they kept seeing out of date photos they decided to do one final day of what they called “mad” photography.  They hired Don to capture their antics as they wanted and I was left to my own devices to shot whatever I liked.  It’s a photographer’s dream to be free to shoot what they want: no brief, no instructions and no restrictions.”

“It really was a mad day rushing around London.  We would get half-an-hour, maybe forty-five minutes at the most in any one place before too many people arrived, which was really good.  I doubt you could do it now.  You’d be inundated with screaming fans and paparazzi in about 30 seconds!”

Getting close to a group as famous as The Beatles posed no problems for Tom.  “it was as perfect a day as I could wish for.  Getting to hang out with one of my favourite bands and take pictures was just sensational.  Were they really mad?  Well, you know what pop stars are like.  They’re always running around doing crazy things.  That’s what makes them so interesting.”

The day after the shoot, The Beatles recorded Hey Jude.  Tom’s two rolls of film were processed and printed, and then incredibly, stored away for almost thirty years.

The Story About Tom Murray’s Mad Day Out with the Beatles 2018-05-14T09:14:55+00:00

Introductory Blog

I was nine years old when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan in the U.S. I was a fan of the Beatles before this event and have never stopped being a major fan. With a brother 5 years older than I and who was at a perfect age to embrace the new age of music, I was raised during the 60s and 70s on all the great rock stars. Love of the music has remained with me to this day.  It is part of my soul and spirit.

About 15 years ago while strolling through Soho NYC, I walked into one of the early galleries that was selling fine art music photography.  I immediately fell in love with the photos and all the emotions and memories associated with these iconic images. So much so that I negotiated with the gallery to represent them in Tokyo, Japan where I lived, and still live, to organize gallery events. I arranged about 10 gallery events over the next several years. I had the great pleasure and fortune of meeting photographers such as Bob Gruen and Henry Diltz and organized exhibitions of their photos in Tokyo. It was a great thrill to talk with Bob Gruen about his time spent with John Lennon when he was one of his key photographers, Bob is the photographer of the iconic shot of John Lennon wearing his NYC T-shirt.

Through organizing these events I gained an appreciation of the genre of fine art music photography. I also began collecting photographs for my own account. Many of these photographs are included in the Private Collection presented on the gallery site.  They include album cover shots (from the original negative) by Robert Freeman of the Beatles’ Meet the Beatles, Beatles for Sale and Rubber Soul.  It also includes five platinum prints by Jim Marshall.  All number one editions of limited editions of 25 or 50.

I decided to create this online gallery, based in Tokyo, Japan, in order to share my love of these photographs with similar minded music lovers in Japan and around the region. I hope you will take time to browse through the work of the many photographers that have shared their beautiful images on this gallery site. I would be happy to talk with anyone interested to learn more about these photos and who are looking to create their own collection of fine art music photography.  Please feel free to email me at info@classicrockphotography.jp.

Bruce Pomer, Tokyo, Japan February 2018

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Platinum Prints

Platinum paper is created by hand coating an acid-free paper with liquid platinum. The image is then contact printed onto the paper, creating a print that is the same size as the negative. The image becomes embedded in the paper, creating a three-dimensional depth specific to platinum prints. The delicate, rich platinum tones range from warm black, to reddish brown, to expanded mid-tone grays that are unobtainable in silver prints.

Unlike the silver print process, platinum lies on the paper surface, while silver lies in a gelatin or albumen emulsion that coats the paper. As a result, since no gelatin emulsion is used, the final platinum image is absolutely matte with a deposit of platinum absorbed slightly into the paper.

Platinum prints are among the most permanent objects; platinum metals are more stable than gold.

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Copyrighted Image