Beatles Abbey Road Album Cover 40 Years On

Today was 40 years in the making; the famous cover photograph by Iain Macmillan of the Beatles’ album Abbey Road was taken 40 years ago today at 11.35am.
I was given the assignment by Polaris Images (NY) and just knew it wasn’t going to be a smooth one. The first thing is, that its just a zebra crossing if the Beatles aren’t on it! Regardless, I picked up my gear and made my way there.

The original cover by photographer Iain Macmillan, seen on a CD

Arriving over an hour early, I started making some nice pictures of some of the fans and chatted with some friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen for a while.
As the time approached, it became obvious that this was going to be an absolute nightmare. Although today was 40 years in the making, the Police in their wisdom had sent one officer down to control hundreds of fans, the traffic and try to help facilitate the media. The road wasn’t even closed until after the whole thing was over (at which point around 10 officers turned up).

Whilst the photographers and colleagues from TV had made arrangements and formed a line around 15 meters away from the crossing, the public, armed with their camera phones, naturally had other ideas. I’m all for everyone having a right to see what’s going on, but why do this and ruin the chance of a decent picture being taken by the press? I’m sure everyone there will be rushing out to buy the papers the next day, only to be disappointed at the quality of the pictures taken.

My rather messy recreation of the image, 40 years on

Still, in a strange way it sort of added to the “homage” we all tried to make to Iain’s original picture. Things have moved on in 40 years and the thought of a major band walking around in a public place are an absolute no no these days. Whilst the original shot is clean and simple, our picture is the exact opposite. Its messy and crammed full of media, the public and a bus (which later broke down and stayed put!).
Sometimes, one just has to step back and think “Let It Be”…..

To see all the pictures from today, please visit my Photoshelter page where images and prints are available for purchase. Alternatively, for a smaller edit, visit my Flickr page.

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