Update: George Harrison’s India photos (and John’s Spain ones)

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Michael Gerber

Publisher at The American Bystander
is Blogmom of Hey Dullblog. His novels and parodies have sold 1.25 million copies in 25 languages. He lives in Santa Monica, CA, and runs The American Bystander all-star print humor magazine.
Michael Gerber
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Shooting Film has a lovely post collecting all of the fisheye selfies taken by The Quiet One in India in 1966. You should read the whole post, but I’ll paste the whole set of George Harrison’s India photos below. [h/t Dangerous Minds, whose ever-snappy writeup is here.]

George and Taj Mahal, 1966

Harrison India 1966 fisheye 2

Harrison India 1966 fisheye 3

Harrison India 1966 fisheye 4

Harrison India 1966 fisheye 5

Harrison India 1966 fisheye 6

Harrison in India 1966 on boat

Harrison India 1966 fisheye 8

Harrison India 1966 red filter

FISHEYES FOREVER: …and as a special Dullblog bonus, here’s another fisheye shot from the same period, which I first saw in Devin’s book Magic Circles. John’s in Almería, Spain, filming How I Won the War.

John Lennon, Almeria Spain, 1966

DM here: Thanks to Mike for posting what I knew was the only possible closing photo for my book. I thought I’d tack on several more fisheye specials, all from annus mirabilis 1966, picked up on my Internet travels. The first, taken by Ringo, is John and Paul in New Delhi, on their brief stopover after escaping Manila.

New Delhi

The rest are from the set of How I Won the War. Douglas Kirkland took these two photos, the second of which accompanied Look Magazine’s December 13, 1966, cover story on John.

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john-lennon-spain-1966

The others, it comes to our attention via Beatles researcher and Almería native Adolfo Iglesias, were taken by César Lucas, uncredited set photographer during the location shooting.

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  1. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    I love these photos. George looks so delighted to be ignored. There are no screaming fans in India. He can relax and explore to his heart’s content a beautiful world that doesn’t care about hit records. All the tension is gone from his face.

    .
    John in his “How I Won The War” period: There’s a part of me that wishes I could freeze-frame him forever in that moment (I know he’d hate me for that)… He’s trying something different, a supporting role in a film satire, he hasn’t yet met Yoko (or has he? Not 100% sure of his chronology) and he’s writing “Strawberry Fields.” His sense of humor is intact, he looks great in his Gripweed 1945 haircut and brand-new granny glasses. His future is wide open.

    • He hadn’t met Yoko, @Sam — that was 7 November 1966. I’m totally with you, and perhaps this is why I love the ’66-’67 Psychedelic Fabs best of all. There’s something terribly “road not taken” with John in that period — not just because he looks reasonably healthy (not too fat, not too thin) but because it seems like he’s going to be able to forge a successful post-touring life and personality. I remember reading about this period in The Hated Albert Goldman, and having lots of things suddenly slot into place; Goldman’s theory was that the acid seemed to be suppressing John’s aggression and paranoia. That could be B.S. — but for whatever reason it appears that he was actually socializing during this time like a reasonably normal human being, and certainly the work he produced was top-notch.

      • Avatar DrTomoculus wrote:

        7 November 1966.

        It HAS to be the 7th November he met her, because the exhibition OPENED on the 8th November, 1966. To be at the gallery the night before the exhibition opened places John Lennon there on the 7th November. NOT the 9th. International Times changed the dates within the first weeks of the exhibition being announced and advertised — from the 9th til the 22nd November – to the 8th through 18th.

        And the only person the international Times saw fit to mention showing up before the exhibition officially opened (it was still being set up late into the early morning of the 8th) was ROMAN POLANSKI.

  2. Avatar J.R. Clark wrote:

    I agree with you, Michael. John was so open after they stopped touring. Maybe it is true that LSD destroyed his ego…or maybe it is true, as John says, that he was looking for something or someone.

    The fall of 1966 was the first time the four of them had some personal space apart from one another, and all of them had the opportunity to pursue individual projects — Paul dabbled in movie music, John played a movie character other than “Beatle John”, George immersed himself in India, and Ringo played country squire and family man.

    Funny thing —John said retrospectively that he hated the experience in Almeria (although it did provide the atmosphere for his creation “Strawberry Fields Forever”), and Paul wasn’t galvanized by his experience working with George Martin on “The Family Way” (although you can definitely hear in the soundtrack the foundation upon which “Penny Lane” was erected and, ever so faintly, the seed of what would, in an unimagined future, become the Liverpool Oratorio).

    When they did reunite to make music in late 1966 they were creatively re-energized.

    I’m convinced the periods of rushed, forced togetherness and what Paul termed in the Anthology “peer pressure” did The Beatles no good.

    Paul pressured the others into filming MMT, even though John and George, and to a lesser extent, Ringo, weren’t keen to do it. George pressured the others into going to Rishikesh, even though Ringo, and to a lesser extent, Paul, weren’t keen to do it. John pressured the others into going on that godawful trip to Greece to buy an island for a Beatle commune, even though Paul wasn’t keen to do it. Paul pressured the others to go right back into the studio immediately after “The Beatles” acrimoniously wrapped, even though the others weren’t keen to do it.

    The tragedy of this time period is that Brian Epstein fell into feelings of uselessness and depression, and died precisely when The Beatles needed his patient guidance, business sense, and ability to pour oil on troubled inter-group waters.

    • @JR, re: John in ’66 and ’67, I think it was both; LSD diminished his ego and aggression, AND he was clearly looking for “what’s next.” They all were, and that’s why the period is so interesting. Because unlike nearly every other rock star I can think of, the four of them were smart enough to want more than the usual pursuits.

      What always has been very peculiar to me is how incessantly John badmouthed this period of his life… but only after he hooks up with Yoko. No contemporary sources describe him as miserable; no blind items fed to Cleave about how he’s stifled; he’s not showing up in the police blotter; no “Troubadour” style incidents are happening. Yet when he’s looking back on it, Lennon is suddenly very depressed, a lost soul, etc etc etc. There’s a ton of spinning going on here.

      Quite agree about the compulsive aspects of Beatledom. And of course about the loss of Epstein being pivotal.

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