5 January 2014
With The Beatles: Freeman's prototype cover shot
Happy New Year one and all ... as the man said, let's hope it's a good one!
The story of how Robert Freeman came to take the iconic cover shot for The Beatles' second album, With The Beatles, in the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth has been occupying life-long Beatles fan Ken Orth, from Savannah, Georgia, USA, for some time.
Ken's excellent article on the subject graced the pages of Beatlefan magazine late last year in which he offered a some new insights into the session that produced one of the most evocative images of the 1960s.
Chief among them was the background story of Freeman's first attempt at using natural light to produce a half-shadow effect in a group portrait.
According to Ken: 'Freeman decided to reprise a pose he had used a year earlier in photographing the principals of the prominent London-based graphic design firm Fletcher Forbes Gill (later the Pentagram design studio) for Vogue magazine. During that session he arranged his subjects in an overlapping tightly staggered pose and framed them in head shots from about shoulder height upwards. He also positioned a light source on their left, leaving the right sides of their faces inshadow. Freeman later called the resulting black and white photo his "prototype composition for With The Beatles." Looking back at this photo it's easy to see and understand his thinking.'
This is the photo:
There's more on how Robert Freeman came to photograph The Beatles in Bournemouth in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, which is available to order here.