Hands up who’s heard of Robert Freson?

GOD’S LIGHT.
It’s what photographers call daylight.
It was Freson’s light source of choice.
It’s obviously less controllable than other forms of lighting but the results can be magical.
It can can give people a luminous, spiritual glow.
At a time when so many briefs are to make the people in front of the camera look real, authentic and believable, it’s odd that we generally drain the colour from the image, add filters or use artificial lighting.
Go through Robert’s images below you’ll see the images positively radiate with life.
Yet feel 100% natural.

So here’s what I know about Mr Freson:
He survived Germany’s occupation of Belgium, then, in 1947, left for Switzerland to study photography.
He then took his master’s degree in photography and and brand spanking new bride to live in the United States.
He dropped his portfolio off at mecca of fashion photography Vogue.

Only a few a few days later he received a telegram inviting him to work under Irving Penn, at that point*, probably the best photographer in the world. (*Possibly at this point too?)
He stayed learning his craft from Penn for the next 13 years.
Here are a few of the portraits he took of his boss.Irving Penn by Robert Freson.jpgHorstPennMoments+Preserved2.jpg61b3b3bf3e3bdb10f56a03ae3b881a1e-1.jpg
In 1962, he left Penn to go it alone, but rather than still life or fashion like his mentor, he chose photojournalism.
In the sixties he was very in demand, he seems to have shot virtually anyone famous in the sixties; from Sophia Loren to Dwight D. Eisenhower to Salvador Dali, basically everyone.
He also shot ads, notably Whitbread for Colin Millward at  CDP in London and the Jamaica campaign for DDB in New York.

For the next forty years he kept two studios, one in France, one in Carnegie Hall.
In the 1970’s he moved into food photography, his book ‘The Taste of France’ became a bestseller and is still sold today.
He’s still around, in his seventieth year as a photographer.
(Although I had no joy trying to get in contact to interview him). 

ADVERTISING.
Robert Freson, Whitbread 'Keyhole', CDP-01'Huntley Levy's Ancestors' Jamaica, Robert Freson, DDB 2.pngRobert Freson, Jamaica 'Calabah', DDB-02'What Makes Young' Jamaica, DDB NY, Robert Freson.jpgRobert Freson, Jamaica 'Spanish Gold', DDB-02Robert Freson, Jamaica, 'Rumplestiltskin', DDB-02'In Jamaica,' Jamaica, Robert Freson, DDB NY-01Robert Freson, Jamaica '150 Years', DDB-02In Port' Jamaica, Robert Freson, DDB NY-01'Her Flowers Are' Jamaica, Robert Freson, DDB NY-01.jpg'Roll Up' Jamaica, Robert Freson, DDB NY-01Jamaica 'Little Girl', DDB NY.png

THE TELEGRAPH MAGAZINE.
Robert Freson, Weekend Telegraph Cover 'Blond Girl'-016bc72d5d1d83c0a06e9ceda81e22ebfa.jpg

ESQUIRE.
0102-Esquire-6409.jpg
Robert Freson 'Argyle Parade', Esquire.png
Robert Freson 'Yellow Parade', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'Stripe Parade', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'Trunk Parade', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'Golfers 2', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'Golfers 4', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'Golfers 3', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'Bowls', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'Sveti Stefan', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'DPS', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'Tennis Parade', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'The Genial Landfall', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'The Genial', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'To Kill A', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'The Princess', Esquire.pngRobert Freson 'The Princess 2', Esquire.png

THE SUNDAY TIMES.Robert Freson, The Sunday Times Cover, Feb 23rd 1964-01Robert Freson, 'Field of Crosses'-01Robert Freson, 'Boat & Leaves'-01Robert Freson, 'Man & Bike'-01Robert Freson 'A Bowl of Grapes', DPS-01.jpgRobert Freson, 'Farm Fields'-01Robert Freson, 'Norfolk Man'-01Robert Freson, 'Poppy'-01Robert Freson, 'Woman In Field'-01'Ireland' Robert Fresonnational-geographic-june-1978-Robert Fresonrobert-freson-2s-l1600-3.jpg'Baby' Sunday Times, Robert Freson, -02.jpgRobert Freson, Sunday Times 'How A Child Grows Up', Feb 5th 1967-01Robert Freson, The Suinday Times 'Childhood', Feb 12th 1967-01Robert Freson, 'Trumpet Boy'-01Robert Freson, 'Smile'-01Robert Freson, 'Boys Pulling'-01Robert Freson, The Sunday Times ' June 6th 1966-01.jpgs-l1600-2.jpg

LOOK.Robert Freson 'Look Cover - New born'.JPG

FAMOUS FOLKS.Robert Freson 'Sophia_Loren & Hat'.jpgRobert Freson 'Sofia & Moum Loren'.jpgRobert Freson 'Hitchcock Hair Cut'.jpgRobert Freson 'Eisenhower'.jpg

ARTISTS.Robert Freson 'Man Ray'Robert Freson 'Andy Warhol DPS'.jpgNE-2013-Freson27.jpgRobert Freson 'Joan mitchell'.jpg
Robert Freson 'Dali'.jpgRobert Freson 'Degas'.jpgportland-press-herald_3784059.jpg

A CAT.Robert Freson 'Cat Stevens'.jpg

SOME FOOD.
20171-fg-panolply-22-dsc_3403__large_430_600_75_ce1f08b01dda5d56.jpg2b2efc3299ab3419ac6086753129afef.jpg74b71ebb64c087f38e40ab09e5f7b2d9--robert-richard-entertaining.jpgassets_LARGE_t_243061_54389822.jpg2013-Nov.Gareth-Jones-4-1.jpg'National-geographic-june-1978-robert-freson2016 Feb.15th.Shop Front Boulangerie_web.jpg

Robert today. (Or maybe yesterday…could’ve been the day before…)10043523_H12765891-600x399.jpg

Any photographers reading: Use the comment section, tell us why exactly is daylight so special?

 

3 responses to Hands up who’s heard of Robert Freson?

  1. brycemain says:

    You gave up too soon…you should have persevered. A talent such as this deserves patience. But good post!

  2. Robesim says:

    Great work indeed. Natural light is not always perfect, and the magic lies in it’s imperfections.
    We have to work according to it – not vice versa. It’s more earthy and has more soul.
    Great website DaveDye

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