Interview for The Guardian • Tuesday, September 21, 1982

'I'd like to know my photography could pay the rent'

Interview of Linda McCartney
Published by:
The Guardian
Read interview on The Guardian
Timeline More from year 1982

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Mar 25, 1978 • From Record Mirror


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May 15, 1976 • From Record Mirror


Linda McCartney: Silly Love Songs

Apr 03, 1976 • From Sounds


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Sep 27, 1975 • From Melody Maker


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Jun 07, 1975 • From Disc And Music Echo


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Dec 18, 1974 • From The Guardian

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Interview

Linda McCartney will be celebrating her fortieth birthday in style. The publication of her second book of photographs and the opening of her first London exhibition are both timed to coincide with the event. She is proud of her work with the camera. She is also aware that there are those who, while busily drinking her pink champagne, will be quick to suggest that if she were not Mrs Paul there would be no exhibition and no book.

She tried to say that she couldn’t care less, but rapidly corrected the remark: “I do care a little bit. I wouldn’t be human otherwise. But over the years the press has said everything negative about me that could be said. In the end you start yawning.

“I was asked to do a book before I ever met Paul. I know that. I also know that I get a thrill out of taking pictures and no one can take that from me, even if they all said the pictures are rubbish.”

McCartney was working in New York as a receptionist for Town and Country magazine – “all society and fashion and not really my thing. Also I could barely type.” Then one day she was opening the post and saw an invitation to a Rolling Stones party. She was rock mad. She pocketed the invitation and, with Pentax around her neck, presented herself on board a yacht in the Hudson river. “A man was standing there kicking off all the photographers and he looked at me and said ‘except you.’ Of course later when I came off the boat everyone wanted whatever pictures I had. I sold a lot and then the teen magazines started asking me to take other pictures of pop stars. And groups asked me to do publicity shots. I must own up, though – I was the cheapest photographer in town. I was so flattered if anyone wanted to use a picture I would give it to them for free!”

She decided to go fulltime and told her father she was quitting her job. “He thought I was mad and told me to go to school if I wanted to do the thing properly.” She didn’t. She just had a ball as the only swinging girl photographer in New York.

Her favourite pictures are those that are not posed; they are pictures of moments captured from, say, a passing car. I told her my favourite was the view of the little boy peeing on the Embankment. “Oh, we nearly put that on the cover. But then we thought it was unfair on the boy. He might not like it when he’s grown up.” But how would he know? “He might recognise himself.” He might well. I have a hunch that it is her son.

[…]

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