English photographer Robert Freeman He died Thursday at the age of 82, the British band announced the Beatles in an official statement on their website. The cause of death has not been disclosed. Born in 1936, he started as a graphic reporter for the Sunday times from London and specialized in the portrait of musicians, although he was also known for having been the portraitist of the first Pirelli calendar or for having photographed Soviet politician Nikita Khrushchev in the Kremlin.
Freeman's work in black and white with jazz saxophonist John Coltrane caught the attention of the Liverpool quartet, with which the photographer began his collaboration in the early sixties. Not surprisingly, it is the author of the images that illustrated some of the most famous covers of the group, as they are perhaps the most mythical of the With the Beatles (1963) – this same image was used for the American album Meet The Beatles! (1964) – and those of Beatles for Sale (1964) Help! (1965) and Rubber soul (1965).
His black and white portrait for para With The Beatles ’, with the faces of the four music hidden in his left half by the lack of light, became an iconic image
In fact, the snapshot for the With the Beatles It became an iconic image of the band. The photo of the four musicians in the gloom, looking at the camera with their famous hairstyles of the first stage, dressed in a turtleneck sweater almost imperceptible and whose faces were hidden in the left half by the shadow, caused a real sensation. So much so that the image was used for the next album, which was released only in the US. Meet The Beatles.
The image was taken on August 22, 1963 in a dark corridor of the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth, a town where Liverpool's were rehearsing. For the photograph to fit the square format of the cover, Freeman chose to place Ringo Starr in the lower right corner, just below Paul McCartney, who was aligned to the rest of the band members.
Regarding the portrait, McCartney subsequently stated that “people often think that the cover photo for Meet The Beatles It was a carefully arranged studio shot. But in fact, Robert took it quite quickly in the corridor of a hotel we were staying in, where natural light came from the windows at the end of the corridor. ”
Initially, the photograph should occupy the entire cover but finally it was decided to leave a white stripe with the title of the disc and the logo of the record label on top. EMI did not initially like the result, arguing that the Fab Four did not smile and it was not until producer George Martin intervened, as head of the Parlophone label, that the cover portrait was approved. Freeman charged £ 75 for this job.
In addition to the Beatles, he portrayed famous people of the time such as actress Sophia Loren, painter Andy Warhol or boxer Muhammad Ali
In a note made public yesterday, McCartney praised Freeman as "one of our favorite photographers" for being "imaginative and a true original creator." "I will miss this wonderful man, but I will always appreciate the good memories I have of him," says the musician. McCartney also tells the photo procedure of the Rubber soul, for which the photographer subtly stretched the faces of the Beatles, which metaphorically referred to the psychedelic experiments that were to come in his later works and that were already beginning to glimpse in this album. The other beatle alive, drummer Ringo Starr also paid tribute to the photographer: "God bless Robert Freeman, peace and love for his whole family."
In 2014, Freeman suffered a severe stroke and his family had to sell a copy of one of his photos of John Lennon to be able to defray costs and help him financially in the tasks of preserving his file while recovering. McCartney then lent him his support.
In addition to the Beatles, the photographer portrayed famous people of the time such as actress Sophia Loren, painter Andy Warhol or boxer Muhammad Ali.