Jürgen Vollmer was born in 1939 in Hamburg, Germany. In 1960, while attending Hamburg’s Institute of Fashion he met the Beatles during their first stint in the city. He and his friends Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann quickly became close with the band and formed the beginnings of a relationship that would leave an indelible mark on popular culture.
When Vollmer first met The Beatles at the Kaiserkeller Club, he had only just started to explore the medium and lacked confidence in his skills. When the band returned to Hamburg in March 1961 however, he felt he had developed enough as an artist to photograph them well. His photographs of the Beatles from this period capture them before their image was transformed, while they were still sporting Elvis “quiffs”, and “ducktail” hairstyles, and wearing leather jackets with jeans.
His personal influence on the Beatles’ iconic look is noteworthy too, in that among other things, it was his own “long” hairstyle that they soon adopted, which later became known as the mop-top “Beatle Cut”. According to John Lennon, Jürgen Vollmer was the photographer who first captured "the beauty and the spirit of the Beatles." Paul McCartney later said, “Meeting Jürgen Vollmer was a very important event in my life and the lives of the other Beatles. His sense of style and excellent photographic skills were to have a profound effect throughout our careers.'
In 1961, Jürgen was assisting German photographer Reinhart Wolf, and soon moved to Paris to assist photographer and film maker William Klein. He lived and worked in Paris for the next decade, and began working in the film industry as a stills photographer. In the 1970s he worked in New York City as an Art Director and went on to became one of the most sought-after photographers in Hollywood.
Aside from his imagery of the Beatles, Jürgen has photographed such icons as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Nastassja Kinski, Jeanne Moreau, Robert Redford, Isabella Adjani, Dirk Bogarde, William Burroughs, and John Travolta to name a few.
He has published several books featuring his photography including: Nureyev in Paris (Modernismo Publications, 1975), Rock ’n’ Roll Times (Square Times Publications, 1979), From Hamburg to Hollywood (Genesis Publications, 1997), Rockers (Art Books International, 1999), The Beatles in Hamburg (Schirmer Mosel, 2004), and On Filmsets and Other Locations (Steidl, 2009).