Paul McCartney’s daughter Mary McCartney, an accomplished photographer in her own right, talked about her latest book “Monochrome Colour” Nov. 21 at Gagosian Gallery in New York City. Patti Murawski and Marie Lacey, who attended the event, said her work is featured in a dual exhibit at the gallery called “Mother Daughter,” running through Dec. 19, that has her mother Linda’s photos juxtaposed to Mary’s photos. “So on the walls were mounted with one or two of Linda’s photos and then next to Linda’s one or two of Mary’s, in sort of theme groupings. It was pretty interesting,” Patti Murawski said.
The Saturday event featured Mary interviewed by Derek Blasberg, Editor at Large at Harper’s Bazaar, V magazine and VMAN. She was dressed very casually in a black decorated T-shirt, denim skinny jeans and white Adidas tennis shoes, Murawski said. She had her hair in a bun, wore little make up and talked to Blasberg drinking coffee.
He asked her how she got into photography and she said she didn’t quite follow her mother Linda into it, Murawski said. “She said she was working as a picture researcher for a music publishing company, and she would go and research photos in various photographer archives, and that’s how she became interested,” Murawski said. “She said she thought anybody could take photos. Then she saw copies of one of her friends’ holiday snaps and thought about how awful they were with peoples heads cut off, photos in weird angles, etc., and she realized not everybody could be a photographer.”
He also asked her how she came up with some of the pairings of the photos for the exhibit. “She said she chose photos from her mother’s archives and her own pictures and had them done up into 4 x 6 prints and put them out all over the floor to see what would go together,” Murawski said. “For example, she said she had a photograph of Linda’s that had a White Horse whiskey bottle next to a baby bottle. She paired it with a photo of a yellow bottle she took in China. The whiskey bottle had a white horse on the label and later she thought maybe she she should have paired it with a photo of a white stallion that she had taken, but decided to stay with the yellow bottle photo.”
One photo brought back memories for Mary when Paul McCartney worked with Peggy Lee, which resulted in the track “Let’s Love.” “There was a photo of an outrageous looking Christmas tree with Stella and Mary in front of it that Linda took when Paul was working with Peggy Lee in the 70s. Mary had a memory of Peggy Lee’s Christmas tree and asked Stella if she remembered this and Stella said no. Then when she went through her mother’s archives and found a photo of the Christmas tree. ‘She was like, “Oh that really did happen. I didn’t imagine it!”’ This she paired with her own photo of her Christmas tree.” She said that some of the pictures brought back a lot of memories and an interesting comment she made was that she almost expected sound to come out of some of the photos!
According to Barbara Pazmino, Mary said that Linda was able to get these great photos of things from through the car window as Paul was driving them all somewhere. “There was no way Paul was turning back if she didn’t get the shot, so Linda got well trained in knowing how to capture it sort of ‘on the fly.’,” she said. “Mary said she’d try to do the same and when she missed getting the shot, Linda would say that Mary captured it in her soul’s camera, and she’d have the image in her mind and soul always.”
Paul McCartney suggested one of the groupings in the exhibit, Murawski said. “Paul insisted that the photo of Jimi Hendrix be included in the exhibition. She said it was his favorite photo of Linda’s. It was mounted alongside a photo of her brother James called ‘Water Boy.’ James had really long hair at the time and had been in the swimming pool. He had just flipped his wet hair back. His hair draped around his face looking like a hat.”
Speaking of her dad, he made an appearance at the event, but managed to keep it pretty quiet, Murawski said. “The talk was scheduled for 2 p.m., started a tad late, and she spoke for about 40 minutes. During the book signing, Nancy came back into the shop part of the gallery. Paul and Nancy had attended the opening reception on Thursday night as did Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, Drew Barrymore, Maria Sharapova, Steve Buscemi, her uncle John Eastman and her cousin Josh McCartney.
“I heard Mary’s publicist say that Paul and Nancy walked in near the end of the talk, and sat at the back of the room. Most people, including me, didn’t know he was there, although a photo has popped up on social media to confirm he was. I’m sure he was being as unobtrusive as possible to not take away from Mary’s event, and he mostly succeeded.”