UA Center for Creative Photography: “The Linda McCartney Retrospective” makes North American debut


“The Linda McCartney Retrospective” is being hosted in the University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography. (Photo by Kayla Linderman, El Inde Arizona)

“The Linda McCartney Retrospective” exhibition opened in Tucson Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Center for Creative Photography on the University of Arizona campus.

It will be open to the public until Aug. 5 and admission is free.

The exhibition covers McCartney’s extensive collection of photos from 1965-97 and will tour her photography career.

McCartney had a strong and personal connection to Tucson, with many of her photographs capturing the landscape and beauty of the city. When she came to the UA in the early 1960s, she picked up photography as an extracurricular.

She was inspired by Hazel Larsen Archer, a renowned photographer who will also be featured in the exhibition, after taking her course in photography. Her teacher had a major influence on McCartney and how she started out in photography.

During her marriage to Paul McCartney, they bought a ranch in Tucson, which he still owns. This is where Linda McCartney spent her final days.

“I think she had a really deep connection to the landscape of Southern Arizona. I think that the Sonoran Desert meant a lot to her, she photographed it some but maybe she connected to it even more just as a person being in that landscape,” Becky Senf, the chief curator at the CCP said.

McCartney’s portfolio is monumental since she had access to one of the biggest bands in history and photographed a variety of other musicians throughout her career. She was the first ever female photographer to have an image chosen for a Rolling Stone magazine cover.

“The Linda McCartney Retrospective” will feature almost 200 photographs that reflect her immense background in photography, divided into three sections.

The “Artists” section will include the musicians she covered in the late 1960s including The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Aretha Franklin. The “Family” section chronologically documents her special moments as a mother, wife and animal activist. The last section, “Photographic Exploration,” will feature her exploration of different mediums such as polaroid transfers and color film.

Martha, My Dear. London, 1968 Credit: © Paul McCartney / Photographer: Linda McCartney
Martha, My Dear. London, 1968
Credit: © Paul McCartney / Photographer: Linda McCartney

The photos are curated by members of her family and Senf, who mentioned that they had to make the size of the exhibition smaller since the original was too big for the CCP galleries.

The exhibition has toured all over the world in countries such as Austria, South Korea, Scotland and the United Kingdom, according to Senf.

In addition to making the exhibition smaller, the CCP will be adding photos from the Linda McCartney Archive that show her strong relationship with Tucson and her experimentation with printing processes.

“We’ve added a couple of pieces to the exhibition that are being shown for the very first time that are a part of a photographic exploration section that emphasize and enhance people’s understanding of how she approached photography, in particular, as an artistic medium,” Senf said.

There will be two complementary exhibits that complement “The Linda McCartney Retrospective,” which will feature McCartney’s beloved mentor, Archer, and an interdisciplinary gallery called, “8-Track.”

The purpose of these two galleries is to gain a “360-degree perspective” of McCartney and her incredible life, according to Senf. “8-Track” will include digital projections of photographs in the Southwest where eight artists will perform an original song inspired by the archive.

Every two weeks, the CCP will host performances by local musicians to incorporate McCartney’s love for music and her musical career in addition to her photographs. More information about both these exhibitions can be found on the CCP website.

To honor McCartney’s work in animal activism and her investment in sustainable food practices, the CCP is collaborating with community partners once a month and will have tables that highlight the topics she was passionate about. The community tables are open to anyone and the schedule of upcoming events is on the CCP website.

There was a grand-opening Saturday, Feb. 25, where activities included creating a cyanotype, engaging with vegan advocates Gissel Guzman and Hannah Hernandez and many other outdoor activities that correlated with the exhibitions.

What to know if you go

What: “Linda McCartney Retrospective”

Presented by: The Center for Creative Photography

When: Feb. 25 – Aug. 5

Where: The Center for Creative Photography

Tickets: Free admission

*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

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