Curt Gunther

In 1964, Beatles press officer Derek Taylor convinced Beatles manager Brian Epstein that the Beatles should have a professional photographer accompany them on their first US tour in 1964. Curt Gunther, who passed in 1991, was an American original. Mr. Gunther captured the private moments when the biggest band in the world arrived in North America and stirred the emotions of a generation. It was the Beatles press officer, Derek Taylor who brought Curt Gunther on-board the American Flyers Airlines charted plane to witness and exclusively capture the intimate moments of the Beatles as they toured cities throughout North America. The candid photos capture the young Fab Four in intimate and lighthearted moments, just as Beatlemania was reaching its most fevered pitch. The snapshots reveal the band in lighthearted situations — riding horses, goofing off with manager Brian Epstein — and capture the passion of young fans during the British Invasion. It’s a candid look at a band on the rise. But the photos almost didn’t see the light of day. Steve Gunther was entrusted with his father’s 35mm Tri X negatives over 25 years ago with the lone instructions: “Fix these.” The task of separating the negatives was an arduous one that took him nearly two months to complete. The photographs capture the Fab Four from an intimate viewpoint, indicative of the relationship Curt Gunther established with the band while on tour. “I think there was real, genuine affection between the Beatles and my dad,” says Steve Gunther. “He was there on every plane ride and in every hotel room.” It was a coup of sorts to even photograph the band on tour. Even after joining the group’s entourage, Gunther was unpaid, finding himself scraping by with a band not yet aware of the enormity of their following. “As the folklore goes,” says Gunther, “he made that month’s salary by playing poker every night and beating the Beatles. It wasn’t Meet the Beatles,” he adds with a smile, “it was ‘Beat the Beatles.’ ” Curt Gunther was born in Berlin, Germany and came to the United States in the 1940’s to immediately begin his photography career. Gunther’s images have been seen in numerous publications throughout the world, and his work has left behind a powerful and significant legacy.

Curt Gunther Prints