Biography

YOU CAN’T BUY COOL
YOU CAN’T MAKE COOL

But if you pay attention, you can find something cool, something beautiful and make it your own, for a while.

Most would be lucky to achieve this just once in a lifetime.

Dean Freeman has been finding the cool and the beautiful that extend beyond time and place
and then making them his for forty years.


Freeman’s vision comes from nature: album covers shot by his father, Robert Freeman, are at the very soul of the iconography of The Beatles and his mother, Sonny Freeman, is an icon herself as the model in the very first Pirelli calendar. Freeman’s vision also comes from nurture: “Freeman is very much his own man, with his own style, in which spontaneity occupies a central role. This, paradoxically, takes years of practice,” wrote Independent editor Simon Kelner in his preface to FunkyTown, the spectacular photo collection drawn from Freeman’s archives.

Freeman has carefully and painstakingly developed and honed a rare talent that distinguishes the great artist: the ability to envision and create something that’s cool, beautiful, original and timeless all at once. He has worked across five continents with A-list celebrities and ordinary people, voodoo practitioners and Nobel Prize winners.

His work hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London, has appeared in GQ, Glamour and Tatler and is coveted by public and private collectors around the world. Freeman achieved critical acclaim during a career of photographing and filming major cultural figures, from stars of sport and music – David Beckham, Michael Bublé, Katy Perry, George Michael, Leona Lewis, and the Spice Girls - to actors and directors – Dennis Hopper, Guy Ritchie, Rachel Weisz – to playwrights – Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard – while also establishing himself as a leader in contemporary cultural iconography.

Dean created the new genre of visual biography by mixing the fashion photographer’s eye for the whimsical and the sensual and the documentary filmmaker’s passion for starkness and truth with his own well-honed sense of what’s cool and alluring to create a series of hugely popular and successful books about Michael Bublé, David Beckham, and the Spice Girls, among others. His book about Beckham, My World, was a global sensation that sold more than 1 million copies.

 


Quotes from Funkytown’s Simon Kelner Forward:

“Life and death, sex and celebrity, the outlandish and the mundane, the ugly and the beautiful: these are just some of the strands of modern life that Dean Freeman has woven into an extraordinary pictorial autobiography.”

“There is a sense that Freeman is not merely an observer of the world, but that he’s a participant too, that he empathises with the plight of those less fortunate, while not taking totally seriously the vanities of the well-off and pampered. It is, without aggrandising his art, a form of photographic socialism.”

“There is so much that is life-affirming within these pages that, however jaded one’s palate, it can restore one’s faith in humankind.”

“Dean Freeman is the boy who started off taking pictures at the age of 15, who had an eye for the things which make life worth living, and the means to express them. He kept groovin’ with some energy.”

Text by Simon Kelner
Photographs from Dean Freeman's
wide-ranging archive
 

Dylan Freeman (03/01/2010 - 16/08/2020)

This collection of limited edition fine art prints celebrates the life and memory of Dean's son, Dylan. 20% of sales of all prints will go through Work for Good to the registered charity National Autistic Society, a leading charity for autistic people and their families.

Dylan was a beautiful, bright, inquisitive and artistic autistic child who loved to travel, visit art galleries and swim. Dylan and Dean had travelled extensively over the years together spending time in places including Brazil, France and Spain.