Through Linda’s lens, a newMcCart­neyal­bum

An idea by a Jewish gallery-owner has led to in­ti­mate McCart­ney fam­ily pho­tos go­ing on show in Lon­don. DanaGloger finds out more

The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES -

IF SIR PAUL McCart­ney i s f e e l i ng t he a f t e r - e f - fects of his £24 mil­lion di v or c e from Heather M i l l s , a J e w i s h g a l - lery-owner has just the tonic the for­mer Bea­tle needs. James Hy­man, who runs a gallery in Cen­tral Lon­don, is mount­ing a dis­play of pho­to­graphs taken by his first wife Linda.

Linda, who was mar­ried to McCart­ney for 29 years un­til she died of breast can­cer in 1998, and was the daugh­ter of Amer­i­can-Jewish par­ents, was an ac­claimed pho­tog­ra­pher who worked for mu­sic mag­a­zine Rolling Stone, tak­ing pic­tures of celebri­ties, par­tic­u­larly in the rock world, of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. She also took thou­sands of pic­tures of the cou­ple’s home life, a se­lec­tion of which will be on show at Hy­man’s gallery. In poignant con­trast to McCart­ney’s re­cent mar­i­tal dif­fi­cul­ties, they re­veal a pe­riod when he seems com­pletely con­tent.

Hy­man ap­proached McCart­ney three years ago with idea for the ex­hi­bi­tion.

He re­calls: “I met Sir Paul and made the sug­ges­tion and he was very en­thu­si­as­tic. At the gallery we are keen on show­ing the work of im­por­tant artists who have of­ten been ne­glected. Ev­ery­one knows Linda’s name, but her pho­tos have not been ex­hib­ited for a long time. The fact that we are an art gallery was im­por­tant to Sir Paul, as it means we can show Linda as an artist.”

McCart­ney agrees: “An ex­hi­bi­tion pre­sent­ing the range of Linda’s pho­to­graphic work is long over­due, so I’m ob­vi­ously pleased that this show is hap­pen­ing.

“ J a me s H y ma n , my daugh­ter Mary, and I have worked on it now for three years, and the re­sult is a sen­si­tive se­lec­tion of works that re­ally demon­strates Linda’s creative out­put as a pho­tog­ra­pher.

“ T h e p h o t o - graphs not only il­lus­trate her in- cred­i­ble tal­ent as an artist, but as some­one who was very much con­nected to the cul­ture of the times, and wasn’t afraid to chal­lenge her­self, or her sub­ject.”

McCart­ney has been in­volved in ev­ery stage of the ex­hi­bi­tion, ac­cord­ing to Hy­man, even dur­ing his high-profile di­vorce.

“Al­though he has had a lot go­ing on in his life re­cently, he has been ex­tremely hands-on, as has his daugh­ter Mary, who is also a pho­tog­ra­pher. We worked on se­lect­ing the 28 pic­tures for the ex­hi­bi­tion to­gether, and Sir Paul has over­seen the whole thing. It’s been very im­por­tant for the whole fam­ily, and is very spe­cial to him.”

Hy­man, a 40-year-old mar­ried fa­ther of three who lives in Hamp­stead Gar­den Sub­urb, Lon­don, and a t t e nds Nor­ris Lea syn­a­gogue, r e - veals that the proc- ess of or­gan­is­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion brought back vivid mem­o­ries for the ex-Bea­tle.

“He was look­ing back on a re­la­tion­ship of about 30 years. I think the pho­tos re­minded him of fam­ily hol­i­days and of when his chil­dren were younger. He spoke about mem­o­ries he had of Linda while we were work­ing on choos­ing the pic­tures,” he says.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will open just seven days af­ter the 10th an­niver­sary of Linda death. She was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in 1995 and died on April 17 1998, aged 56.

“It wasn’t planned that the ex­hi­bi­tion would co­in­cide with the an­niver­sary, but I think it adds a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion,” says Hy­man, who has cu­rated ex­hi­bi­tions at the Is­rael Mu­seum and the Ben Uri Gallery.

The pic­tures se­lected f or t he ex­hi­bi­tion show the range of Linda’s work, and in­clude pic­tures of fam­ily life, land­scapes, an­i­mals as well as mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing her hus­band, John Len­non, Mick Jag­ger, Janis Jo­plin and oth­ers.

Al­though she started o u t p h o t o g r a p h i n g mu­si­cians, Hy­man says that when she and Mc-

Cart­ney mar­ried and had chil­dren — one of whom is fash­ion de­signer Stella McCart­ney — she be­gan tak­ing more do­mes­tic pic­tures.

One of the pic­tures shows Sir Paul in his dress­ing gown with his son James jump­ing off a car bon­net, just one of many of the oth­ers also show in­ti­mate fam­ily mo­ments.

“Sir Paul told me that Linda of­ten car­ried her cam­era around with her, and would take pic­tures spon­ta­neously,” Hy­man ex­plains.

“Her pic­tures weren’t staged, they were in­ti­mate and there was an in­for­mal­ity about her work. And Sir Paul said the fam­ily were all very re­laxed with her tak­ing pho­tos be­cause they trusted her.”

So what was it like work­ing with one of the most fa­mous peo­ple in the world?

“It was very ex­cit­ing,” Hy­man says. “He has a gift for be­ing quite in­for­mal and putting peo­ple at ease. I en­joyed work­ing him.

“With such peo­ple you also won­der how in­volved they will get in the project, and it re­ally im­pressed me how in­volved he has been. It’s ob­vi­ously some­thing that’s very close to his heart.”

He adds that he and McCart­ney did not dis­agree on any of the pic­tures which should be se­lected. “He knows the work much bet­ter than me, af­ter all,” he says.

The pho­tos range from the late 1960s to a self-por­trait taken a few months be­fore Linda McCart­ney died. “That is a par­tic­u­larly sad photo, as it’s to­wards the end of her life. It’s a very mov­ing pic­ture.” The ex­hi­bi­tion will shown at the James Hy­man Gallery, 5 Sav­ile Row, Lon­don, W1 from April 25 to July 19. Ad­mis­sion is free. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.jameshy­man­gallery. com

Sir Paul McCart­ney with his chil­dren Stella and James, cap­tured by Linda McCart­ney, at the fam­ily farm in Scot­land in 1982. The im­age will be dis­played at James Hy­man’s gallery


Sir Paul McCart­ney with his for­mer wife, Linda

Cu­ra­tor: James Hy­man

McCart­ney ( left) dur­ing a mo­ment of re­flec­tion in Venice in 1976 andMick Jag­ger ( above) in New York in 1966. Linda took pho­tos of many rock stars of the time, in­clud­ing Jim Mor­ri­son and John Len­non

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