Get local news delivered straight to your phone

Support City Paper!

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

In 1964, Glaswegian Harry Benson was removed from a plum assignment to Kenya and sent to cover an upcoming group from Liverpool called the Beatles on their trip to Paris and subsequent world tour. Benson quickly befriended the Fab Four, at the very hour of their making, photographing the Beatles just as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” went No. 1 in America. He documented the moment when they became a phenomenon, unwittingly engineering seismic shifts in our popular culture. Benson captured the group in rare and unguarded moments: composing “I Feel Fine” in a hotel room, pillow-fighting (they give Paul an extra whack!), honeymooning, chilling with alternate universe drummer Jimmy Nichol, and playing the Ed Sullivan Show. The most revealing section of Benson’s collection, The Beatles Now and Then, is a meeting with another icon in the making, Cassius Clay. We see the cocky and witty group stunned as they’re outcharmed and ordered around by the young boxer. Benson’s photos of Wings, Sean, Julian and Yoko don’t really satisfy, lacking the contextual significance of those of the Beatles; they suffer from being so close to the warm and innocent ’60s grain of his earlier black-and-white shots. Benson will be joined by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curator James Henke, George Harrison’s sister Louise, and Beatlefest creator Mark Lapides for a discussion titled “I Read the News Today, Oh Boy: The Beatles and the Media” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Newseum. His photographs are on view through Saturday, Jan. 23, at Govinda Gallery, 1227 34th St. NW. (202) 333-1180; and through May 16 at the Newseum, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. (703) 284-3544. Free. (John Dugan)