Robert Freeman, the photographer behind some of The Beatles‘ most famous album covers, has died aged 82.
His work included the photos featured on the covers of classic LPs like the band’s second album ‘With The Beatles’, ‘Beatles For Sale’, ‘Help!’ and ‘Rubber Soul’.
He also worked on the ending sequences of the first two Beatles films, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!.
— 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.
Freeman suffered a severe stroke in 2014, and his family sold a copy of one of his John Lennon portraits to pay for his care and to help preserve his archive of photos.
In addition to his work with The Beatles, Freeman took photos for a number of other artists including John Coltrane, as well as photographing political figures such as Nikita Kruschev for The Sunday Times.