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'He Was Just A Kick To Be Around': Prince's Friend Releases Rare Pics

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Twin Cities photographer is giving Prince fans a more intimate look at the pop icon's life.

Allen Beaulieu was Prince's photographer and friend, beginning in the late 1970s.

He is now coming out with a book that will feature part of his collection of favorite photos of "His Purple Majesty."

"At that time [we met], he wasn't 'Prince' Prince," Beaulieu said.

He was an up-and-coming fashion photographer in Minneapolis, when he got a phone call that would change his life.

Allen Beaulieu
Allen Beaulieu (credit: CBS)

"I was expecting, you know, a higher voice, but he goes, 'Hi, Al, this is Prince [laughs]!' I go, 'OK!'"

Suddenly, at 29 years old, he was shooting a poster for Prince.

"It's him against the stars. Well, to make the stars show up, first I had to take a picture of him, tell him to stay there, and then I had to go around back where stars where the stars are poked out in the background, a black background, and flash the strobe light 20 times, so he was very patient," he said.

Beaulieu would go on to shoot three of Prince's album covers, and three tours. Now, two-and-a-half years after the musician's death, he is sharing photograph's capturing Prince's career and life.

Prince Photos By Allen Beaulieu
(credit: Allen Beaulieu)

"There's probably hundreds and hundreds of photographs that nobody has seen before," Beaulieu said.

The book is called "Prince: Before the Rain," and is being published by the Minnesota Historical Society. Beaulieu's relationship with Prince would change his career. He landed jobs with The Time, Vanity 6 and Rolling Stone Magazine.

Beaulieu says he hopes people will buy the book and sense Prince's creativity through the images.

"He was just a kick to be around," he said.

Beaulieu's book will come out on Nov. 1, but it is already available for pre-order on Amazon.

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