Paul McCartney Remembers Beatles Photographer Robert Freeman

Paul McCartney remembered Robert Freeman as “imaginative and a true original thinker” in a tribute to the late photographer who shot some of the Beatles’ most memorable album covers.

Freeman’s photos of the Beatles ended up the covers of albums like With the Beatles, Rubber Soul, Help! and Beatles for Sale. In his tribute, McCartney recalled the shoot for With the Beatles, which he noted always had the aesthetic of “a carefully arranged studio shot” considering the way the band is so meticulously lit.

“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,” McCartney remembered. “I think it took no more than half an hour to accomplish.”

McCartney also recalled how Freeman accidentally created the stretched effect on the Rubber Soul cover. To give the band a sense of what their covers would look like, Freeman regularly projected photos onto a piece of cardboard cut into the size of an LP sleeve. During the viewing session for the Rubber Soul photos, the picture fell backwards a bit in the slide projector, altering its dimensions.

“Instead of simply putting the card upright again, we became excited at the idea of this new version of his photograph,” McCartney said. “He assured us that it was possible to print it this way and because the album was titled Rubber Soul we felt the image fitted perfectly.”

McCartney closed his note, saying, “I will miss this wonderful man but will always cherish the fond memories I have of him.”

Freeman’s death was announced via the Beatles’ Twitter account today, November 8th. A cause of death was not given.

Paul McCartney Tribute to Robert Freeman

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.

Thanks Bob.

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