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'The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus' On Display At Proud Chelsea

Unseen photographs of The Beatles are on display at Proud Chelsea and ePHOTOzine events reporter Stuart Fawcett went along to meet the photographer who captured the unique collection.

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David Magnus with his wife and Son-in-law and fellow photographer James Shaw

David Magnus with his wife, Janice Magnus, and Son-in-law and fellow photographer James Shaw


Back in 1963, a young man of 19 was sent out to photograph a pop group playing at the local school, the man was David Magnus and the band was called The Beatles.

At the end of the session, photos were printed for an editor to take a look at and it was decided by The Beatles' publicity machine that the images were great so they asked David to return for another photo shoot and the rest is history, as they say. 

The Beatles have their own, very public history but David was given an insight into this world-famous group very few were granted access to. This was predominantly down to professional respect – he got on well with them and did not ask them to do silly things during photo shoots. This trusted professional relationship meant David was able to build up a vast collection of images of The Beatles, images which have been unseen by the public until today.  


The Beatles images by David Magnus


Now, 50 years on from when the Beatles recorded their 'All you need is Love' album, David’s publicist wants to present a photographic reminder of who The Beatles really were in their more relaxed moments.

David shot with Nikon F cameras and used fixed focal length lenses of 28mm, 105mm and 135mm as zooms just didn't have the quality he needed then. As digital hadn't yet graced the world with its presence, David was shooting on Kodak Tri-X ISO400 B&W film which he pushed to 800 in processing.


David Magnus exhibition


David’s early years were focused on 'getting the picture' as his editor, Ben Jones, of the Daily Sketch was strongly insistent of him always returning with a photograph. He clearly remembers being sent to photograph the British politician Edward du Cann who was in the running to be Prime Minister; David cold called on his house and was told by Mrs du Cann that Edward was not in. On returning to the newsroom, he was not openly chastised for not getting the picture of the politician, but for also not getting a photo of his wife, the house or even the pet dog!


Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers at the exhibition

Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers at the exhibition


In such a trendy part of town, there were inevitably many musicians, artists, collectors and fans all very keen to see the exhibition. From grown up girls who remember first-hand Beetle mania, to film producers and artistic collectors all excited to see the unseen.  But don’t worry; you too can see this exhibition on the Kings Road from 16 March - 14 May 2017 at the Proud Chelsea gallery. 

The exhibition left me wondering what other gems David might still have in his archives, or indeed what might be in the future archives of current photographers shooting school bands?

For more information about David, who is truly a talented and nice man, visit his website:


The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus

  • Dates: 16 March 2017 - 14 May 2017
  • Times: Monday to Saturday: 10am-7pm, Sunday 10am-6pm
  • Entry: Free
  • Address: Proud Chelsea, 161 King’s Road, London, SW3 5XP
  • Website:


Words by Stuart Fawcett (JackallTog)

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JackAllTog Plus
11 6.1k 58 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2017 11:26AM
David was indeed a lovely guy and was very open to further questions if you have any.

Davids website has more information on other exhibitions that will take place this year.

He also has a page all about the Book that was published by Tracks. Ltd in 1997 called The Beatles All You Need Is Love, The Dress Rehearsal - Its a limited edition book and can be autographed, dated and have a personal notation if wished.

I hope i get to see more of his work...

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