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More Popular Than Jesus?

At 27 Ralph Gibson did not die. He photographed the Beatles at the height of their fame and controversies.

L.A., August 1966. The Beatles arrived at the Capitol Records Tower for a press conference organized to release the album Revolver, and to address the storm that hit the band after John Lennon stated they had become “More Popular Than Jesus”. On that occasion young photographer Ralph Gibson jumped on a dream assignment: to photograph the event with full creative freedom creating images that didn’t look like press.

He spent that whole night printing 16 photographs in the darkroom, and Capitol Records made plans to turn the work into a book. Some images show the band surrounded by journalists and flanked by security guards, others are deliberately devoid of context and focus on the young men’s expressions. The dummy was stolen at the label and never became a book, but the vintage prints were recently exhibited at Laurence Miller Gallery in New York City, where Ralph Gibson made most of his career.

Ralph Gibson’s series The Beatles - 1966 is represented by
Laurence Miller Gallery

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