Having established himself at the pinnacle of his craft, not only as a photographer, but as a visual poet and artist, Paul Freeman’s gift is to find and unashamedly eulogize the spirit of a rugged, yet sensitive male beauty. From his compositions and lighting to the particular texture of his shoot locations, his collections set a unique and mesmerising tone of sophisticated rawness rarely achieved in books of the male nude.
Freeman grew up in Tasmania, the small southern island state of Australia. Upon graduating with a degree in English Literature and History , he moved to Sydney to study and pursue acting, before taking up photography, learning his craft at the Australian Centre For Photography.
His nude portraits of men and women, sports stars and actors, began appearing in the prestigious Black And White Magazine and in their sister publications, Sport and Blue, and in the magazines’ Olympic books, The Sydney Dream (2000) and The Athens Dream (2004).
Freeman made his mark in fashion and advertising too, with campaigns for major fashion labels and brands, winning the top place in international awards, the Cannes Lions and the Clios.
The New York Times art critic Robert Hughes’ featured Paul’s work in his 2000 documentary series Australia: Beyond The Fatal Shore, and his work has been featured in Australian television documentaries.
He took time out from photography to write the best-selling biography of Australian footballer Ian Roberts, ( Ian Roberts: Finding Out, published by Random House in 1997).
His first book of art nude portraits, Bondi Classic, was published to critical acclaim in 2003, and a best-selling series of three more Bondi books followed.
His 2011 and 2013 books Heroics and Heroics II are a neoclassical exploration of the nude male, and reference sculpture and painting in Western European art, from the Renaissance on. This series questions contemporary attitudes to the naked male in life and art by juxtaposing it with our collective artistic heritage.
In Freeman’s Outback series, ( 2008-2014) he utilises the Australian bush and its’ changing moods to explore his male aesthetic, and to style and weather his subjects. Each book shifts focus to a different element of the theme from Outback ( 2008) , Outback Currawong Creek (2009) , Outback Brumby (2010), and Outback Bushmen (2012) through to Outback Dusk, released in September 2014.
His latest Larrikin series of books,( Larrikin, Larrikin Yakka, Larrikin Digs and Larrikin Lads), continues his photographic journey, with an array of enthralling and sensual art nude stories of men in gritty and evocative landscapes and interiors. This time it is that peculiarly Australian larrikin ideal of masculinity, which is as much about character and individuality , as it is physical prowess and confidence, that drives Freeman’s signature visual narratives of confidence and bravado, juxtaposed with unexpected gentleness and vulnerability.
Critics and Reviews
“He is one of the most admired photographers of his generation, an important and astute recorder of the contemporary male nude image with a style that is undeniably his own. With over half a dozen critically acclaimed and beautifully appointed monographs to his credit, Paul Freeman’s stunning, erudite images of virile, rugged men working and playing in the Australian outback have come to occupy an iconic, cult-like reverence in the collective consciousness of the men and women who follow his work and collect his books.” LUSH LIFE Magazine, July 2012
“The power, the honesty, and the completely unselfconscious energy in Paul Freeman’s nudes sets them apart from the crowd. I recognise in his work those deep currents of passion that allow for an unfettered exploration of human physicality and sexuality. Very few photographers can hold my attention the way Paul Freeman does and I count him among my most significant contemporary influences.” - Tom Clark in the introduction to his book STORYTIME
“Paul Freeman is tremendously influential as an artist and despite his fame and acclaim, I believe his overall importance as a contemporary photographer has yet to be fully realized. There is a timeless beauty and energy and authenticy to his work I truly love and admire and relate to . The power of his photographs have less to do with the physical beauty and/or sexuality of the men pictured and more with where they take me. It’s like traveling. Paul’s images conjure up a very specific feeling for me. They capture a moment, a way of life… in a very tangible way. ” (Sophia Renee , photographer, writer)
“He’s brought us a new and exciting view of the male and the masculine…about individuality, personality, reality.” ( David Leddick, author of THE MALE NUDE)
“Paul Freeman creates unique masculine worlds with each book. Not merely a collection of photographs, each book is a conceptual whole, featuring men who appear unaware of their own beauty, but fully engage with Freeman to offer themselves to his eye. .. At the close of each book, one feels there has been a real adventure with real men. Exciting and very satisfying. Exceptional work.” (David Boyce, arts writer THE STANDARD-TIMES)
“I continue to be inspired by Paul Freemans work. Every time I sit down to look at his images I’m immediately pulled into a place that I really love to be. His work moves me and inspires me and has been in my consciousness since he first started publishing and making waves on the international scene” ( Tom Clark)