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Club Sandwich 43

            The spring of 1987 will mark a milestone in even Linda's career. From 28th February to 20th April, the Royal Photographic Society's Octagon Gallery in Bath will feature the largest exhibition of her work ever held in Europe. Entitled Linda McCartney at the Royal Photographic Society it will be open to the public from 10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
            The RPS is the oldest international photographic society in the world, being founded in 1853, just 14 years after the discovery of this magical process was announced by Daguerre. Today, the Society has 10,000 members worldwide and continues to grow. An exhibition at the Octagon, its principal gallery, is a rare and coveted honour; Linda's will range from her early work to new and unpublished pictures.
            Having covered the Society's history in brief, perhaps we should do the same to Linda. She started taking pictures as a hobby after graduating in fine art at University. Rock music was also a great interest and later she combined the two in some famous studies of artists like the Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones, becoming house photographer at New York's celebrated Fillmore East venue.
            But Linda soon broadened her approach and began to think of photography as a full-blown career while working
for Town and Country magazine. Assignments for Mademoiselle, Vogue and Harpers helped to put her on the map, so that today her exhibitions are enthusiastically received across the world. The Linda McCartney of 1987 cannot be easily categorized, having recently completed commissions for the Council for the Protection of Rural England and the prominent new fashion designer, Jenni Barnes.
            The RPS show reflects this diversity, while emphasizing Linda's ecological concerns. There's a memorable, mist-shrouded vista from her
Country Calendar (reproduced in CS41), a still life of an amarylis, a self-portrait ' radiating calm and concentration; a bare torso shot of son James, looking even cooler (figuratively speaking); and finally, artists Gilbert and George stand for all the world like prisoners in the dock behind a table of assorted pottery. From this very public triumph, we leap to the more private, experimental Linda McCartney. Sun Prints, a small exhibition, was open through most of October at the Easton Rooms, Rye, Sussex. In a small accompanying leaflet, Linda described the process used: "These prints of 10"x8" photographs are inspired by my desire to experiment with an old process which uses the sun as a developer rather than the darkroom. Hand-made paper is coated in a painterly fashion with different solutions of minerals which are then married to the negative and exposed to the sun."
            Apart from clicking away with his Instamatic on holiday and taking the results to the local chemist, your correspondent was pretty ignorant of even normal photographic processes and sought expert advice. Not for the first time, Robbie Montgomery obliged.
            "The solutions are tricky, and also secret. Linda's been using the technique for two years and likes experimenting with it. The show was purposely kept quiet-there was no press release and only the local paper came - but 19 prints were sold, which is good for a show that size."
            Robbie than passed me to his colleague Bo Steer for more technical info.
            "You can't enlarge, so negatives 10" x8" are required for that size of picture. Iron and silver are used in the process, platinum in the prints. Development can take half an hour in sunlight: you wash off the chemicals, then use very diluted fixing solution. The prints are blue or brown."
            Some of Linda's sun prints are included in the RPS show. I asked Bo if the technique had been used much recently.
            "No. It was used before enlargers came in around the turn of the century, using paper responsive to artificial light. The lack of direct sunlight in the UK makes it difficult. Certain photographers use the sun for printing, but only the most skilful
- David Bailey occasionally, some Americans. It's expensive due to the chemicals and minerals."
            One Captain Ibbotson, an English photographic pioneer living in Switzerland, printed Daguerrotypes of ferns, grass and flowers on paper and pasted the results into an album, calling it "Le premier livre imprime par le soleil". Well, perhaps "livre" was overstating it, but there's no doubting ihe good Captain's originality and ' enterprise. Linda McCartney shares these qualities, as visitors to the Easton Rooms found out. The rest of you can experience a touch of the sun (and
a great deal more) at the Octagon Gallery this spring.


            It was announced in January that there would be no more Beatles tours, but 'the boys' were very busy in the studio.

            6th January:
            Soundtrack to The Family Way out.
            8th January:

            Sunday Times
reports that Paul has declined to write the music for a new production of Shakespeare's As You Like It.
            9th February:

            Promotional films for 'Penny Lane' and 'Strawberry Fields Forever' shown on Top Of The Pops.
            13th February:

            The above songs are issued as a single in the US.
            17th February:

            The single comes out in the Old Country, encased in a picture sleeve - a phenomenon almost unknown in Britain at the time. Many still rate it the best pop single ever.
            4th March:

            'Penny Lane/'Strawberry Fields Forever' reaches number one in the Melody Maker charts, staying there three weeks.
            11th March:

            Paul is awarded two Grammys: 'Michelle' is Song of the Year, 'Eleanor Rigby' Best Contemporary Solo Vocal Performance.
            25th March:

            'Michelle' receives Ivor Novello Award as Most Performed Song.