Book Celebrates Yoko’s ‘Happiest Time’ with John Lennon

The photographer who shot the iconic cover of Lennon's final studio album shares hundreds of rarely seen other photographs

DoubleFantasyLPAt the 1982 Grammy Awards, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy won Album of the Year. It was Lennon’s first collection of original studio material since 1974 and was released in November 1980, a month before the ex-Beatle was shot and killed in New York City.

Now comes the Taschen Collector’s Edition photography book of the same name. Edited by Josh Baker and overseen by Ono, the 174-page clamshell hardcover item sources the other photographs besides the iconic album cover taken by Japanese photographer Kishin Shinoyama over a period of two days in September 1980.

The New York TimesT magazine has an exclusive first look at the book trailer and an explanation of how the project came about:

The book was Ono’s idea, Shinoyama explains over email, through a translator (he does not speak English). It was triggered by a 2010 exhibition in Tokyo celebrating the 30th anniversary of the album. “There were many pictures that Yoko had never seen for over 30 years,” he says. “She said to me, ‘Thank you for taking images of my happiest time. How about making a photo book with these pictures?'”

Some fans in the NYT comments are reeling at the $700 price tag for the book (the Art Edition retails for $1,800). But that’s often the case for high-end Taschen book releases. Other catalog items include a $5,000 Rolling Stones book, a $2,500 Annie Leibovitz compilation and a $750 Barbra Streisand title.

Each of the 1,980 numbered copies of the Double Fantasy book (the quantity reflects the year of the original album release) are signed by Ono and Shinoyama. The two Art Editions meanwhile are being limited to print runs of 125 copies each and include a pigment print signed by the photographer.

[Album cover courtesy: Capitol]