TABLE OF CONTENTS
Description of Series
Robert A. Freson Photographic Archive, 1938-2016
Robert A. Freson was born in Belgium in 1926. During World War II he joined the British Royal Navy. He obtained his master's degree in photography in Switzerland and then immigrated to the United States in 1948, where he started working for Vogue studios under renowned photographer Irving Penn. After 13 years of working for Penn, his boss and mentor, Freson went out on his own and began a successful freelancing photojournalism career. He captured photographs for The Sunday Times Magazine, Look, Marie Claire, Stern, Vogue, Esquire, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, and Gourmet, among other American and international publications, traveling the globe and working out of a studio in New York and one in Europe.
Freson made photographs documenting American culture through its fashions, food, architecture, and celebrities, two of whom stand out. His photographs of actress Sophia Loren and former president Dwight D. Eisenhower were used in their respective books. Freson also covered a broad range of international subjects including battle scenes from World War I and II, Winston Churchill's funeral, royal weddings, and international food and travel. He is particularly known for his photographs for the book The Taste of France and for his destination photography for Jamaica and Bermuda tourism campaigns.
The Professional Photographers of America (PPA) honored Robert Freson with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. Freson lives in Bailey Island, Maine.
The Robert Freson Photographic Archive contains photographs, negatives, slides, contact sheets, tear sheets, notes, and diaries. It is estimated to contain two and a half tons of photographs, about 350,000 images, spanning approximately 70 years, from the 1940s to the 2000s.
Transparencies make up the bulk of the collection, and include originals, copies, Panons, selects, and rejects documenting the many and varied assignments for which Freson created photographs. A portion of the collection is comprised of tear sheets and publications featuring Freson's work. Nearly all of the materials are identified by a job number and/or description.
The archive also contains prints, numbered and identified by shoot and date, as well as manuscript material and working files. These latter materials include invoices, receipts, expenses, correspondence, printed material, postcards, maps, captions, notes, and other shoot information that document Freson's varied photographic assignments from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection is open for research use. Donor maintains copyright of unpublished materials.