Oct 04, 1964
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Robert Freeman (December 5, 1936 – November 8, 2019) was a photographer and graphics designer best known for his work with the Beatles, shooting some of the band’s most recognizable images featured on several of their album covers. From 1963 to 1966, he worked extensively with the group and did the photography and design on five of their album sleeves released consecutively on the Parlophone label in the UK, as well as on several albums on Capitol Records in the US and on various labels in other countries. Freeman designed the end credit sequences for the Beatles’ first two films and some of the graphics and photography displayed on the films’ posters and promotional materials.
He worked as a film director on the rarely-seen Swinging London cult film The Touchables in 1968, which starred Judy Huxtable and David Anthony, and featured music by the original Nirvana.
Freeman first came to prominence as a photo journalist working for the British newspaper The Sunday Times, for which he photographed a variety of subjects, including Nikita Khrushchev in the Kremlin. He had also become noted for his black-and-white photographs of several jazz musicians including John Coltrane. It was these photographs that impressed the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and the Beatles themselves and led to his first commission in August 1963 to photograph the group. He was selected to photograph the entirety of the first ever Pirelli Calendar, shot in 1963 for the year 1964.
From paulmccartney.com, November 8, 2019:
Dear Robert Freeman has passed away. He was one of our favourite photographers during the Beatles years who came up with some of our most iconic album covers. Besides being a great professional he was imaginative and a true original thinker. People often think that the cover shot for Meet The Beatles of our foreheads in half shadow was a carefully arranged studio shot. In fact it was taken quite quickly by Robert in the corridor of a hotel we were staying in where natural light came from the windows at the end of the corridor. I think it took no more than half an hour to accomplish.
Bob also took the Rubber Soul cover; his normal practice was to use a slide projector and project the photos he’d taken onto a piece of white cardboard which was exactly album sized, thus giving us an accurate idea of how the finished product would look. During his viewing session the card which had been propped up on a small table fell backwards giving the photograph a ‘stretched’ look. Instead of simply putting the card upright again we became excited at the idea of this new version of his photograph. He assured us that it was possible to print it this way and because the album was titled Rubber Soul we felt that the image fitted perfectly.
I will miss this wonderful man but will always cherish the fond memories I have of him.
Robert Freeman, long time photographer of The Beatles, has passed away – he created some of the most iconic images of the band, featured on the album covers of With The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles For Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul.From Twitter – The Beatles
Last updated on March 19, 2021