Linda's wide open landscape

On show: Country life captured in the lens of a woman who immortalised rock stars
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PREVIOUSLY unseen photographs by the late Linda McCartney go on show in New York today. The exhibition, Wide Open, shows her studies of nature, moody, minimalist landscapes and her still-life works.

McCartney, who died of cancer in April, selected the final pictures shortly before her death. The exhibition runs at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery until 2 July.

"Last September, I spent time with Linda in England, and quite literally looked at almost every picture she had made in the past 30 years," the gallery's owner, Bonni Benrubi, said yesterday. "I was astonished by what I saw."

"Picture after picture, I was struck by Linda's keen eye toward composition, her inherent sense of objectivity, and the timelessness of the images ... There are landscapes of the Sussex countryside, a beach in the USA, the coastline of Brazil, and others that invite the viewer to dream and rest in the peacefulness of such imagery, and appreciate how precious our natural resources are.

"There are intimate still lifes composed perfectly, artistically, and frozen in time for each and everyone's interpretation."

Critics have been quick to dismiss the technical expertise of Linda McCartney's work. She had a "good eye" but was criticised for not coming to terms with the more mundane aspects of taking pictures.

Nevertheless, while rock icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones were relaxing - even losing their inhibitions on drink and drugs - Linda would be in the corner, snapping away.

Her talent has often been described as no more than being in the right place at the right time - but so were a lot of other people. And it was she who got the shots. At college, the then Linda Eastman was not taught technique, but that the key to making great pictures was finding the right inspiration at the right moment. Her images often lack formality of composition, with the subjects at times being caught off-centre, or hovering at the edge of the frame.

The pictures at the New York exhibition ranged from those photographs taken in the Sixties and Seventies to others taken throughout the Nineties.

At the same time, an exhibition of Linda's innovative work with the artist Brian Clarke, involving putting photographs on to stained-glass windows, has opened in Europe and may come to London or New York.

The exhibition opens a few days before a memorial service for the photographer. Sir Paul McCartney will give the address at the service on Monday night at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London, while animal rights organisations hold a candlelit vigil close by, in Trafalgar Square. The service, next Monday, will attract interest across the world, but Sir Paul is planning to keep it a private affair, restricted to family and friends and those who knew his wife.

Representatives of animal-rights and vegetarian groups plan to assemble during the evening to pay tribute to Linda McCartney's work over more than two decades in increasing public awareness about vegetarianism and animal welfare.