Robert Freeman dead at 82: Paul McCartney’s tribute to Rubber Soul photographer

Paul McCartney has paid tribute to photographer Robert Freeman, who has died aged 82.

Freeman was responsible for the iconic shots that made up the Help! and Rubber Soul album covers, helping the Beatles establish their everlasting image.

He also took the photos that featured on the band’s classic albums, With The Beatles and Beatles For Sale.

Freeman also worked on the end sequences of the first two Beatles films, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!.

Paul McCartney, 77, paid tribute to the photographer in a lengthy post on his blog, in which he described Freeman as “one of our favourite photographers who came up with some of our most iconic album covers.”

Sir Paul McCartney has paid tribute to the Beatles photographer
(Image: PA)

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The legendary singer-songwriter said: “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.”

Sir Paul McCartney tweeted a photo of the With the Beatles album cover

McCartney went on to describe how Freeman put together his ideas for the Rubber Soul album.

He continued: “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.

Photo of Beatles Rubber Soul album
Photo of Beatles Rubber Soul album
(Image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Production line at E.M.I. factory in Hayes Middlesex where the new Beatles LP Rubber Soul is being manufactured
(Image: Mirrorpix)

“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.”

McCartney finished with an emotional eulogy to the photographer and what he meant to him.

He ended the blog with: “I will miss this wonderful man but will always cherish the fond memories I have of him.

“Thanks Bob.

“Love Paul”


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Freeman suffered a severe stroke in 2014 and to help pay for his care, his family sold a copy of one of his portraits of John Lennon.

The money raised from this also meant they could preserve 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.

Do you have a story to sell? Get in touch with us at webcelebs@trinitymirror.com or call us direct 0207 29 33033.

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