WORLD-OBITS-L ArchivesArchiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2007-06 > 1182815877
From: "Peter McCrae" <>
Subject: [WORLD-OBITS] MCMILLIAN: Iain MacMillan 8.may,2006
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 00:57:57 +0100
Iain MacMillan, photographer: born Carnoustie, Angus 20 October 1938; died
Dundee 8 May 2006.
Time was tight for the Beatles in the summer of 1969 whilst they were
recording in EMI's London studios in Abbey Road, St John's Wood, and the
photographer Iain MacMillan was told that he could have the group for a few
minutes during a lunch break for the album cover shoot. Following a
suggestion from Paul McCartney, he sat on a tall ladder outside the studio
and took photographs of them striding across the zebra crossing. By then,
the Beatles, on the verge of disbanding, had no uniformity in their looks.
Long-haired John Lennon was in a white suit, Ringo Starr in a black frock
coat, McCartney in a suit bought at Oxfam, and George Harrison was in denim.
As the cover of Abbey Road, the photograph was instantly iconic but no one
could have predicted what was to follow, as fans scrutinised the picture for
clues that Paul McCartney had died and had been replaced by a lookalike.
There were so many pointers on the album sleeve that it looked deliberate:
Paul was out of step with the others; Paul was barefoot (apparently an
Italian burial custom); John was the minister, Ringo the undertaker and
George the gravedigger. The Volkswagen's numberplate was 281F and Paul would
have been 28 IF he were alive, and so on.
MacMillan was born in Carnoustie, Angus in 1938 and attended school in
Dundee. He became a trainee manager for Jute Industries but loved
photography and, in 1958, studied the subject professionally. His first
assignment was as a photographer on a cruise. He did much technical
photography and then compiled a series of photographs of life in the city
for The Book of London (1966). It was through this work that he met John
Lennon, who invited him to photograph the album cover for Abbey Road.
MacMillan went on to work with Lennon and his second wife, Yoko Ono, on
several of their projects. He photographed the clouds for their album Live
Peace In Toronto (1969) and was also involved in the packaging of Sometime
In New York City (1972). For the picture single of "Happy Xmas (War Is
Over)", he skilfully morphed photographs of John and Yoko together.
MacMillan's representative Raj Prem says, "Iain was too gentle for the
industry in which he worked and eventually he preferred to teach photography
instead. He was a much better photographer than many of his contemporaries
but he never said a bad word about them and was always modest."
MacMillan parodied his own cover for the album Hinge and Bracket at Abbey
Road (1980) and in 1993 McCartney and MacMillan revisited the Abbey Road
zebra crossing for photographs of McCartney with his sheepdog. This became a
cover of a CD called, appropriately enough, Paul Is Live.
|[WORLD-OBITS] MCMILLIAN: Iain MacMillan 8.may,2006 by "Peter McCrae" <>|