He’ll always be known as the Beatles‘ drummer, but Rolling Stone Films sheds light on Ringo Starr‘s other life’s work in a new original short, “Ringo Starr: Photographer.” Directed by veteran Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger, the film interweaves candid interview footage, clips of Starr drumming solo on his gorgeous Ludwig kit and vintage Beatles photos from his extensive archive. “I think I really got more serious about it, more excited and interested in it, in the Beatle era,” Starr says of his work behind the camera. “Photography became my passion alongside playing, really.”
Starr’s incredible archive — preserved in a new book, Photograph — includes intimate shots that only a fellow band member could have captured: George Harrison goofing off in the studio, John Lennon on the beach in Tobago with a sea urchin stuck in his foot. As the images progress chronologically, we see how the psychedelic era rubbed off on Starr’s photography much as it did on the Beatles’ music, leading him to experiment with fisheye lenses and multiple exposures.
“These photographs allow us a very intimate peek inside the Beatles’ world,” says Seliger. “With his camera by his side, Ringo had the rare ability to step outside of the band and capture very authentic moments as they were unfolding. And through these moments, we are able to witness a love and brotherhood among the four members.”
Seliger, one of the world’s great portrait photographers, also compliments Starr’s images from an aesthetic standpoint. “Ringo’s photography was exceptionally sophisticated for someone whose primary job was drumming in the world’s most famous band,” he says. “I don’t separate Ringo the photographer from Ringo the drummer and songwriter. He is an artist through and through.”
“Ringo Starr: Photographer” proves Seliger’s point again and again.