Dezo Hoffman - First Beatles Photographer May 17, 2009 18:39:47 GMT -5
Post by yerblues1968 on May 17, 2009 18:39:47 GMT -5
Dezo Hoffman. Photo by Silver K Fine Art.
DEZO HOFFMANN (May 24, 1912 - 1986)
Dezider Hoffmann (most often credited as Dezo Hoffmann or Dežo Hoffmann, 1912, - 1986) was a Hungarian photographer, photojournalist and cameraman from Czechoslovakia. He earned international acclaim in the 1960s, shooting photographs of well known pop and showbiz personalities, such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Laurence Olivier, The Kinks, The Shadows, Tom Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Elton John, Omar Sharif and Pink Floyd.
Hoffmann was born 24 May 1912 in Selmecbánya, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary (now Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia). After studying journalism in Prague, he worked at Twentieth Century Fox in Paris as a photojournalist. During Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia he was sent to make a documentary of the invasion. After returning from Africa he was sent to Spain to film the 1936 People's Olympiad (a protest against the official Olympic games in Berlin under Hitler's propaganda). Soon after he arrived in Spain, the civil war broke out and Dezo found himself on the barricades. In this period he met personalities such as Hemingway and Robert Capa. Allegedly three men formed an inseparable trio.
Photo published by POPPET magazine, October 5, 1963, page 28
From Dezo Hoffmann's July 2 session. Photo by Piet Schreuders,
Facing war dangers Dezo was injured few times. The third injury was serious, leaving him without memory for several months. After recovery he moved to England and joined the squadron of Czechoslovak pilots flying with the RAF during World War II.
After the war he remained in London, working for various newspapers and magazines. In 1955 he began his collaboration with Record Mirror magazine, which was the start of his career photographing show-business celebrities. In 1962 he went to Liverpool to shoot an unknown but promising group - The Beatles. Mutual appreciation and sympathy led to a long-lasting relationship between Hoffmann and the group. Dezo also made a 8mm colour film during this first Beatles assignment, which must be the first ever colour film taken of them, also featuring many scenes actually shot by the Beatles.
It is said that Paul McCartney had declared him the world's best photographer. During the following years Hoffmann's famous photos of The Beatles attracted the attention of many other stars. He was regarded as a "nice chap" who was appreciated and welcomed wherever he went despite his strong foreign accent.
Crossing Wardour Street in front of Garners Restaurant. A moment in Dezo Hoffmann's
"A Day in the Life of The Beatles" photo session of July 2, 1963. From "Pop Pics
Super Beatles George", page 13. Photo by Piet Schreuders.
In 1982, Omnibus Press published With the Beatles - The historic photographs of Dezo Hoffmann (ISBN 0-399-41009-0), showing some of the photos captured by Dezo during the prime time of Beatlemania. This book is out of print as Dezo's Beatles photos collection has been acquired by Apple Corps Ltd. Most of the photos used in the The Beatles Live at the BBC CD/LP, including the front cover photo, were taken by Dezo.
With The Beatles - The Historic Photographs of Dezo Hoffman may be ordered here.
His grave is in London, where he died in 1986 at the age of 74.