Arizona Retrospective Spotlights Linda McCartney’s Photography

It's on display at the Center for Creative Photography

Linda McCartney
Linda McCartney in 1973.
Michael Putland/Getty Images

“Linda put you at your ease,” Paul McCartney told The Guardian in a 2019 interview. He was speaking about his late wife, Linda McCartney, and her work as a photographer. His comments about her work offer plenty of insights into her decades behind the camera — pointing to her work photographing everyone from music legends to ordinary people, as well as her skill at her craft. “One of the great things about Linda was she knew when to click,” he said in the same interview.

Now, a retrospective covering Linda McCartney’s decades of work as a photographer has come to the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. That choice of venues is no accident; she began photographing while a student there in the early 1960s. The Linda McCartney Retrospective includes close to 200 images covering a wide range of subjects; it’s up now and is set to run through August 5 of this year.

“Linda carried a camera with her most of the time capturing images in an instinctive way which left her subjects feeling totally comfortable with the process,” said Paul McCartney in a statement. “She loved to explore and found ways to make her art joyous and innovative at the same time.”

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Writing at The Washington Post, Karen Peterson provided some welcome historical context regarding Linda McCartney’s work — including the fact that she was the first female photographer to have her work used on the cover of Rolling Stone. (Specifically, a portrait of Eric Clapton on a 1968 issue.) As Peterson notes, the exhibit is also a reminder that Linda McCartney’s creative work predated her meeting her future spouse.

Consider the exhibit a kind of homecoming, then — or a reminder of one artist’s impressive range.

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