'Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm' is Now Open at the Brooklyn Museum

Black and white self-portrait photograph of Paul McCartney in London taken in the early sixties
23 January 2024

The Brooklyn Museum Announces Paul McCartney Photographs 1963–64: Eyes of the Storm 
⁠On view May 3–August 18, 2024 
⁠Find out more and plan your visit

As The Beatles captured the hearts of millions, Paul McCartney captured it all on his Pentax film camera. Paul McCartney Photographs 1963–64: Eyes of the Storm takes visitors inside the 1963–64 frenzy of Beatlemania, as the band’s first U.S. tour skyrocketed them to global fame. More than 250 of Paul’s photographs, recently rediscovered in his archives, reveal his singular vantage point at the centre of this whirlwind of attention and adoration illuminating both the historical, and the personal, moments Paul and his bandmates experienced together. First on view at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, the exhibition makes its New York debut at the Brooklyn Museum, opening May 3, 2024, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.  

Black and white photo of a crowd of fans behind a barricade in New York's Central Park
Fans, press, and police await The Beatles' arrival at the Plaza Hotel, 5th Avenue, photographed from the car, February 1964.

“Since first arriving in New York in February 1964, Paul McCartney has built a strong, everlasting connection to the city. His vibrant photographs from The Beatles’ first visit capture the energy of the city, the excitement of the American fans, and the frenzy of the band’s status as celebrities. Yet the images also record The Beatles’ fun and delight with each other. Through McCartney’s lens, we feel the intensity of being at the centre of such extraordinary events,” says Catherine Futter, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of Decorative Arts. 

In an immersive installation of photography, video clips, and archival material, Eyes of the Storm traces the period when The Beatles played concert halls in Liverpool and London and began to tour internationally, first to Paris and then to the United States. Paul’s photographs convey the intensity of the band’s touring schedule in the U.S., as the Fab Four were swept from concerts to hotels to the road with rabid fans and paparazzi at their heels, from New York and Washington, DC, to Miami. The band’s arrival in New York signalled a turning point in popular culture, as their first televised performance on The Ed Sullivan Show was watched by around seventy-three million people and launched The Beatles into superstardom.  

Paul’s explorations in photography reflect his commitment to both the musical and visual arts. The range of work, from portraiture and landscape photos to documentary images, reveals Paul’s familiarity with the formal styles of early 1960s photography. References to New Wave, documentary filmmaking, and photojournalism can be found across the exhibition.  

Eyes of the Storm not only showcases Paul’s artistic versatility but also serves as a personal and historical archive. In addition to documenting the demands of touring and nonstop media attention, the photographs evoke an affectionate family album, picturing his fellow band members, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, at a time when their lives were changing irrevocably. The exhibition gives visitors a highly personal glimpse into an extraordinary time period of one of music’s enduring legends. 

Paul McCartney Photographs 1963–64: Eyes of the Storm has been organised by the National Portrait Gallery, London, England, in collaboration with Paul McCartney. It is curated by Paul McCartney with Sarah Brown for MPL Communications and Rosie Broadley for the National Portrait Gallery. The presentation at the Brooklyn Museum is organised by Catherine Futter, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, and Jennie Tang, Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director of Art and the Director of Curatorial Affairs. 

⁠Find out more and plan your visit