By CNN’s Alphonso Van Marsh
LONDON, (England) — When Honey magazine commissioned photojournalist Michael Ward to follow and photograph an up-and-coming music group called The Beatles in February 1963, he had never heard of the Liverpool-based rock band.
And he was not impressed when he heard The Beatles play:
“I thought, Oh my God. How awful. What terrible noise they¹re making. There¹s no syncopation. They’re playing all on the beat,” he says.
What Ward considered just another job was actually the capturing of a pivotal time in the Beatles career.
Ward’s images of the Beatles on the streets of Liverpool and performing in a basement bar came as the Fab Four learned their song “Please, Please Me,” would be their first number 1 hit.
The humble photographer said after the shoot he put the images in a drawer and did not think much about them.
“I forgot about them more or less. I wasn’t really interested in the Beatles,” Ward said.
That was until last year, when a colleague found the negatives and encouraged Ward to dust them off and re-print them.
Today, Ward does not get around as quickly as he used to.
Aided with two canes, the humble, elderly journalist is making his way through a London exhibition of his 24 Beatles shots. Watch the photographers talk about The Beatles »
He appears taken aback by all the fuss.
“It is really Lady Luck when you press the button and take a picture,” he says, downplaying his skills.
Ward teamed up with another photographer Tom Murray, who captured images of The Beatles at another pivotal time: the group’s last official photo shoot in 1968. A time many consider the beginning of The Beatles’ break-up.
Murray, fast talking and flashy in a suit and jeweled lapel pin, is still in awe of The Beatles and the images he took of them.
“I spent the whole day with the four most famous boys in the world,” Murray said.
“It was the hair, the clothes. It was the height of the swinging sixties.”
Murray points to one of his pictures of the Fab Four at a London park bench.
There is a fifth person in the photo — a man fast asleep on the bench — apparently oblivious that the world’s most iconic musicians are mugging for the camera around him.
“He slept through the whole thing,” Murray said. “I always wondered if somebody came up to him afterward and asked him ’did you know The Beatles were just sitting next to you?’ He must be regretting it.” Only five years separates these two remarkable photo shoots, documenting two very different periods in the Beatles’ career.
Images taken by two very different photographers, who have opted to share their pictures, many of them previously unseen with the world.