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Henry Grossman

Henry Grossman shot the Beatles extensively between 1963 and 1967. Despite a background in classical music and portraiture, Henry, only a few years older than the Beatles themselves, developed an immediate rapport with the group. In addition to covering their initial appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and the movie locations of “Help,” Henry enjoyed unprecedented access and was invited into their homes to shoot them informally with their friends and families.

In 2008, Curvebender Press released a limited edition of Kaleidoscope Eyes documenting one evening of recording the Sergeant Pepper album at the Abbey Road studios. A new book containing several hundred previously unpublished photos of the Beatles will be released in late 2011. Henry was particularly close to George Harrison with whom he remained in touch until his death in 2001.

Henry's father, Elias Grossman, was a renowned etcher who had been commissioned to do portraits of Gandhi, Einstein, Paul Robeson and others. By helping his father, Henry learned, perhaps unconsciously, the key elements of classical portraiture -- especially the interplay of shadow and light. He studied photography at the Metropolitan Vocational High School. As an undergraduate at Brandeis University, Henry assisted Ralph Norman and shot every visiting guest speakers, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Marc Chagall, David Ben-Gurion, e.e. cummings, Robert Graves, John F. Kennedy (on the day he announced his run for the presidency), Adlai Stevenson and Henry Kissinger.

Upon graduation, Henry was armed with a portfolio that would have been the envy of a photographer twice his age. While still in his twenties, he went on to shoot numerous assignments and covers for Life, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Paris-Match and others. His subjects ran the gamut from prominent political figures (the three Kennedy brothers, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon) to painters, sculptors and writers (Alexander Calder, Kurt Vonnegut, Vladimir Nabokov) and, especially performing artists (Pavarotti, Domingo, Nureyev, Leontyne Price, Leonard Bernstein, Martha Graham, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Barbra Streisand, Thelonious Monk et al.). Frequently he worked as the official photographer for a Broadway show and would then follow-up with a photo-essay for Life on the same show.

Unknown to many of Henry's subjects and colleagues was the fact he was an actor and Wagnerian tenor. He had attended Brandeis on a Theater Arts Scholarship and later studied with Lee Strasberg. His classmates included Dustin Hoffman and Elliot Gould. Henry went on to perform at the Metropolitan Opera as a principal tenor and on Broadway for a run of more than 1,000 performances in Grand Hotel.

A life-long New Yorker, Henry has two children both of whom are professional musicians. His current clients include Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Chicago Lyric Opera and others.


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