Iain Macmillan

b.1938 - d.2006
The Beatles' Abbey Road photographs are among the most important and collectible rock 'n' roll photographs in the world. SFAE began offering Iain Macmillan's signed, limited edition Abbey Road album cover outtake photographs in 2001.

These novel images had only recently been published for the very first time in The Beatles Anthology book and immediately began capturing the interest of photography collectors worldwide. Several years later, the album front and back covers were made available in the same signed, limited edition original photographic formats and the Abbey Road Collection was born. Please contact us for information on availability.


Iain Macmillan was born in Carnoustie, Angus, October 20, 1938. After leaving Dundee high school in 1954, he worked as a trainee manager in a local jute mill, before studying photography at the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster).

He returned home in 1959 to photograph Dundee tenements and street scenes - powerful images of a way of life about to disappear. His talent was soon recognised by magazines and publishers, and by the early 1960s he was getting commissions from the Lutterworth Press, the Sunday Times, Plays & Players and the Illustrated London News.

Later in the decade he took photographs for a book, The Sculpture of David Wynne, and for Wynne's exhibition catalogue, while also working on a photographic essay about life in the capital. The Book of London (1966) contains some of his best work, and brought him to the attention of Yoko Ono, who commissioned him to photograph her exhibition at the Indica gallery, in St James's. It was there that Yoko met John Lennon, who then invited Macmillan to photograph the Beatles' forthcoming Abbey Road album cover.

Macmillan continued working with the couple on such projects as the Live Peace in Toronto album (1969) and Sometime in New York City (1972). He also collaborated on the film Erection, an animation of shots of a London hotel under construction with a soundtrack by John and Yoko. In New York, he photographed much of Yoko's avant-garde work, including Flies, when a bell jar of flies was released and the locations where they were supposed to land were shot. It proved to be a technical nightmare - and (unintentionally) a guide to New York. His work was featured on film and advertising posters and record labels, including the merging heads which are featured on Happy Xmas (War is Over).

In the 1980s his photographs were exhibited in galleries in Britain and the US, and on the continent. The BBC used his work in the series The Rock and Roll Years.

In 1993 Paul McCartney invited Macmillan to take another picture on the famous zebra crossing near the EMI studios in St John's Wood, this time of the lone Beatle and his Old English sheepdog. Macmillan contrasted the simplicity of the earlier picture by including a team of policemen, press photographers and a lively crowd. The resulting image was used on the cover of the album Paul is Live, thus scotching rumours that McCartney was dead.

Macmillan was modest about his own achievements. He retained a lasting affection for Paul and Linda McCartney, whom he described as "the most solidly down to earth and unaffected couple imaginable". He died May 8 2006.