If you’ve seen a Beatles album cover in your life, you’ve likely been viewing the work of photographer Robert Freeman.
Among his high-profile work, Freeman’s photography adorned several Beatles records, among them Help!, Rubber Soul, Beatles for Sale and With the Beatles. Earlier this week, Freeman passed away at the age of 82, prompting a lengthy, heartfelt remembrance from Paul McCartney, posted to his official site.
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) 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.
Ringo Starr kept his message a bit more brief than Paul’s:
God bless Robert Freeman peace and love to all his family 😎✌️🌟❤️🎶🎵☮️
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) November 8, 2019
While the John Lennon estate also passed along a message:
ROBERT FREEMAN RIP
Sending love and peace to the family of the great Robert Freeman, friend and photographer for @TheBeatles, who shot the covers for With The Beatles, Beatles For Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul as well as John's books In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works. pic.twitter.com/IZMoKsHSIU
— John Lennon (@johnlennon) November 8, 2019
A few days after the news, George Harrison’s estate also issued a remembrance:
Photographer Robert Freeman and @ringostarrmusic photographed by George in 1964 • Remembering Robert Freeman, who captured some of the most timeless images of @thebeatles. Condolences to his family & friends from Olivia & Dhani on his passing pic.twitter.com/3d8E8lqerJ
— George Harrison (@GeorgeHarrison) November 11, 2019
It’s the goal of any photographer to put together works that are appreciated — and there’s no denying that Robert Freeman left a truly special mark on the world. May he rest in peace.