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A 10 Minute Shoot
February 15, 2012 7:46 AM   Subscribe

Outtakes from the Beatles' Abbey Road photo shoot
posted by msalt (35 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yoko looks pretty bad in that first pic.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 8:00 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here is the actual gallery of outtakes. I've seen one or two of the going-across-the-other way pictures, but not the ones of them standing around ahead of time. Neat.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:03 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Taking into consideration their whole interpersonal history - any picture of John and Paul together, just in conversation or kind of kicking back, always chokes me up a little.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:06 AM on February 15, 2012


It's unbelievable how wrong this looks.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:07 AM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Someone really needs to do Terry Gilliam-style collage animations of the photo, with different mishaps occurring and fakey Scouse voices.

"Paul, wher're your shoes?" "Ooh noe...Ringo's tipped over..."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:07 AM on February 15, 2012


If you'd like to watch some playing in traffic that's both constant and egregious, Abbey Road has the webcam for you.
posted by Copronymus at 8:15 AM on February 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


28IF, man, 28IF!
posted by shakespeherian at 8:22 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Neat -- I expected it to be just a jokey collection of them waiting for traffic to clear.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:23 AM on February 15, 2012


Imagine the "Paul Is Alive and Kind of Sporty" urban legend that would have spread if they'd gone with one of the pics that show him with sandals on.
posted by argonauta at 8:24 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Paul, you lead with the right foot. Right foot."
posted by phong3d at 8:26 AM on February 15, 2012


I live very near to this zebra crossing and usually pass by a few times each week. As the webcam link above will confirm, there is always a crowd of people waiting to recreate the album cover (some of them even take off their rucksacks), at virtually any time of the day or night. I've just seen a guy planking 2 minutes ago - it seems The Beatles can even keep that alive.

When I drive through it I'm always careful to slow down and encourage the tourists to get their shot - as are most drivers, but it is actually an incredibly busy main road (unlike the quite sleepy area St John's Wood was in the sixties - notice there are zero parking restrictions in the Beatles pics). Although I'm not any kind of patriot or anything remotely like that, when I stop there I feel conscious at that moment of a little twinge of pride and joy at England's gift to the world of the Beatles. Stopping at the crossing for someone to get their shot is a shared micro-celebration and you feel like it's a sunny afternoon lying on your bed with Penny Lane playing on vinyl.
posted by colie at 8:28 AM on February 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


Great cover, but they should have gone with "crossing the river Thames on the Fritz Otto Maria Anna".
posted by swift at 8:33 AM on February 15, 2012


The Beagles
posted by punkfloyd at 8:33 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or: Picture yourself on a boat....
posted by swift at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2012


So Paul's not dead after all, he was just wearing dorky sandals that day.
posted by chavenet at 8:55 AM on February 15, 2012


Penny Lane, on the outskirts of Liverpool, is another place of perpetual Beatles celebration. I used to live in the area and it was interesting to see how few pedestrians showed no visible sign of humming or singing the tune to themselves . See also the experience of walking along the banks of Loch Lomond
posted by rongorongo at 9:16 AM on February 15, 2012


I'm surprised that at that point in their Beatlesdom that they were able to stand being around each other long enough to do even a 10-minute photo shoot. George looks nothing if not completely pissed off and bothered in that final iconic cover shot.
posted by blucevalo at 9:19 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of mesmerized by some of the pedestrian stupidity exhibited on the live webcam. How long do you have to watch before you see an accident?

Can't... look... away...
posted by Sir Cholmondeley at 9:35 AM on February 15, 2012


Not trying to snarky, but the fact is that all these have been readily available and on the web for many years, as any real Beatles fan can attest to. Nothing new here.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:13 AM on February 15, 2012



So Paul's not dead after all, he was just wearing dorky sandals that day.

I don't see what makes them dorky particularly, but I alway wondered about that story that he'd just walked from his flat to the shoot barefoot. In London. So he didn't: he wore sandals and just kicked 'em off for the shoot. That makes a lot more sense, even if it lacks the Beeblebroxian forced insouciance of the standard explanation.

Nothing new here.

I bought the album when it came out, and I've never seen the piccies with the sandals on, so it's news to me.

The Beagles

You mean Stringer and Tubby (and their ever-lovin' agent, Scotty)?

mesmerized by some of the pedestrian stupidity

You would prefer, perhaps, some heroic, original, world-class stupidity?
 
posted by Herodios at 10:19 AM on February 15, 2012


Oopsie!
posted by squalor at 10:24 AM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


You mean Stringer and Tubby

I don't even want to click on that, I just want to assume it's a picture of Stringer Bell and Prop Joe recreating the Abbey Road shot. Perhaps with Cheese as Ringo and Omar wearing John Lennon's white suit.
posted by mannequito at 10:53 AM on February 15, 2012


It's unbelievable how wrong this looks.

That is hilarious, it's like a second rate alternate universe version of Abbey Road.

And holy crap, that long hair and those beards look mighty uncomfortable.
posted by Sphinx at 11:28 AM on February 15, 2012


How long do you have to watch before you see an accident?

All are protected by Beatle Love while crossing.
posted by colie at 11:37 AM on February 15, 2012


I find the lack of silly walks... disappointing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:52 AM on February 15, 2012


Whoa squalor, never seen that one before. Or any from that photo session, judging by clothes and hair. Where did you find it?
posted by aquanaut at 11:54 AM on February 15, 2012


I find this fascinating. Judging from the second link of outtakes, this photo shoot seems somewhat slapdash and impromptu. There are no visible signs of equipment (like lights or reflectors), no photography assistants, no makeup artists, or even really much in the way of posing.

Although the final shot does appear posed (and I assume it was), it nevertheless seems that the shoot started out with the photographer simply snapping shots as they crossed the road back and forth. Not to overstate the obvious, but it's was a bit trickier before digital photography to click away at moving subjects and get a good sense for what was and was not working aesthetically.

Granted, it's not surprising that a good photographer could do this, but it is somewhat surprising to imagine that a professional photographer charged with shooting a cover for the Beatles wouldn't have had the scene almost completely planned out in his head before anyone of the involved parties agreed to do the shoot in the first place.

Of course, I'm inferring a lot and quite possibly too much. But that's the impression these photos gave me. And it is entirely possible there's much more going on than is revealed in the candid shots. But often enough with high end photo shoots even a slight deviation from the framed scene can reveal quite a lot in terms of people and equipment.

It's just fun to imagine this was the work of a solo (or nearly solo) photographer shooting in daylight, without lighting equipment, and just making up the composition as he went along... with the Beatles.
posted by Davenhill at 12:37 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


So here I am in Hawaii in 2012 watching a road in England and waiting for people to recreate a pose originally done in - what? - 1968?

Ob-la-fucking-da.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:59 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Davenhill: which raises the question, was this iconic photo brilliant improvisation? Or just a mediocre picture that happened to have THE BEATLES in it?

How would one even answer that question? I don't know much about photo aesthetics.
posted by msalt at 2:02 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The photo of Lennon playing dead with the others crouched around him looking mildly concerned was made during Don McCullin's "Mad Day Out" with the Beatles in '68. I remember it being a popular punk dorm poster in the mid-80s.
posted by squalor at 2:10 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


msalt... which raises the question, was this iconic photo brilliant improvisation? Or just a mediocre picture that happened to have THE BEATLES in it?

How would one even answer that question? I don't know much about photo aesthetics
Msalt, I'm thinking a bit of both. Certainly the photo is iconic because it's the Beatles. But it also stands out strongly from a large bodywork of other Beatles album covers and photos.

At the very least the composition of the album cover pops in comparison with the other photos. It's not just a photo of the Beatles crossing the street, but how they look while crossing it.

There's a nice symmetry to the composition. Each Beatle is photographed in full stride, spaced equally apart from one another, almost as if they are marching in unison. But in contrast to the conformity of the march, you have their long hair, beards, and barefooted Paul.

The white and black suits of John and Ringo draw even more attention to the white stripes of the crosswalk. It's almost as though they are walking on a piano keyboard. Paul's gray suit splits the difference, and George provides a splash of color with his blue shirt and jeans.

On the technical side, the black and white suits both pose a bit of an exposure challenge, especially in the harsh daylight. Just compare the album cover to the other shots in the outtakes and you can see what I mean. Certainly there was post processing on the photo, but it's hard to recover detail if you over-expose the whites or under-expose the blacks, which is why I'm a bit surprised the 'behind the scenes' shots don't show any signs of shades, reflectors, etc.

Don't get me wrong, it's all do-able without the gear, etc. and appears to have been done so. But nowadays it's hard to imagine that you could bring superstars to a photo shoot and just sort'uv throw something together in that kind of lighting and just hope/assume it works out.

And of course, it's an identifiable location where they are doing something imitable (though, as above, it's probably not quite as easy to reproduce as it appears :).

/rambling
posted by Davenhill at 6:10 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Watching the live cam now and it's dark there. Are the flashing globe lights at either side of the two crosswalks a common thing at cross walks in England or is that something special in this neighbourhood?
posted by Mitheral at 6:56 PM on March 5, 2012


The crossing at Abbey Road is a Zebra crossing - these have been around in the UK since 1949. They are good at not disrupting the flow of traffic too much - but poor from the point of view of not getting pedestrians hit (worse than no crossing at all according to the study cited in the link). The flashing lights are on constantly as an indicator to both drivers and pedestrians - pedestrians have right of way at all times.

Since the Zebra UK pedestrians have got used to a menagerie of other animal named crossings. Just my take from looking at the webcam - but my guess is that a zebra crossing is no longer the best type of crossing for Abbey Road: there are many fast moving cars as well as many pedestrians. A Pelican crossing - more like a standard US crosswalk with WALK/DON'T WALK phases - or a slightly more spiffy Puffin crossing might be more appropriate.

Just not so photogenic!
posted by rongorongo at 2:17 AM on March 6, 2012


my guess is that a zebra crossing is no longer the best type of crossing for Abbey Road

Please don't tell the local council.

Although I honestly think you would have to factor in a measure of 'driver goodwill' on your safety calculations for this crossing, if you were the council trying to work out what to do. I always slow down and let tourists take their photos here, and I've always seen other drivers do the same, for 25 years now. It's Abbey Road, man!
posted by colie at 4:38 AM on March 6, 2012


Ah Belisha beacons.
posted by Mitheral at 5:47 AM on March 6, 2012


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