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Robert Freeman, the British photographer who shot some of the Beatles’ most iconic album covers, has died. He was 82 years old, as Deadline reports. Though the cause of death has not yet been revealed, the news of Freeman’s passing was announced via the Beatles’ official Twitter account earlier today (November 8).
Freeman was born in 1938. Early in his career, he worked as a photo-journalist for The Sunday Times. His life as a professional photographer took off when he began working with the Beatles in the early ’60s. Freeman would go on to shoot the now-legendary covers of Help!, Beatles for Sale, Rubber Soul, With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, and more. He also captured images of John Coltrane, Mohammed Ali, Andy Warhol, Charlton Heston, and many other pivotal figures in pop culture.
Following the news of Freeman’s death, Paul McCartney posted words of remembrance on his website. “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,” McCartney wrote. “I will miss this wonderful man but will always cherish the fond memories I have of him.” Find McCartney’s full statement below.
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.