Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Late Great Robert Freeman

Robert Freeman, the photographer who took the cover photos for five of The Beatles' albums, died on November 6 2019 at the age of 82. The cause was pneumonia.

Robert Freeman was born on December 5 1936 in London. During World War II he was evacuated to Yorkshire for one year. He became interested in photography while at Clare College at the University of Cambridge. Following his graduation he served in the British Army and started working for The Sunday Times and various other publications. He also provided photographs for the first Pirelli calendar. He also photographed John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and various other jazz musicians. These photographs impressed The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein enough that he asked him to shoot the cover for The Beatles' second album, With The Beatles.

Robert Freeman would go onto shoot the covers for The Beatles' albums Beatles for Sale, A Hard Day's Night, Help!, and Rubber Soul. He also joined The Beatles on their 1964 tour of the United States. He provided the titles for The Beatles' movies A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965), as well as The Knack...and How to Get It (1965). Mr. Freeman directed two movies of his own, The Touchables (1968) and La promesse (1969--known in English as The Secret World).

Robert Freeman would continue to photograph celebrities after his association with The Beatles ended. Over the years he photographed Sophia Loren, Andy Warhol, Jimmy Cliff, Pedro Almodóvar, and Penélope Cruz.

There can be no doubt of Robert Freeman's talent as a photographer. Not only did the covers he shot for The Beatles' early albums help shape the band's image, but they were starkly modern when compared to other album covers of the time. Quite simply, he helped bring album covers into the Sixties, elevating them to an art all their own.

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