An uncropped photo of the Beatles at the photo session that produced the “Rubber Soul” cover (it's at the link) in 1965 popped up mysteriously on Facebook Sunday and has been creating a huge internet buzz.
The photo is a slightly different pose than found taken by Robert Freeman on the “Rubber Soul” cover. The new one is untouched, and, at that, slightly blurred, and also a bit longer than the cover photo. Looking at it closely, it appears the viewer can see a loose thread on John Lennon's sleeve that was airbrushed out later from the original “Rubber Soul” cover photo.
Freeman was called on often in the early '60s to photograph the Beatles. He also shot the covers for "With the Beatles," "Beatles For Sale," "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!," plus the book covers for John Lennon's "In His Own Write" and "A Spaniard in the Works."
The photographer talked about the album cover in his book, “A Private View.” "For the cover I wanted another angle of the group and an entirely different tonality, greens, browns and black, but with an almost monochrome look. The garden of John's house in Weybridge had the right elements: a high, dark green hedge and a grass knoll that sloped away steeply. This provided the background and the angle,” he wrote.
“When we came to look at the slides, the white card they were being projected on tilted slightly, distorting the image. The Beatles liked this effect and I subsequently found a way of matching it by having the image tilted in the enlarger and copied onto a larger transparency."
As Paul McCartney explained, “When we came to choose which of Bob’s photos we should use for the cover of ‘Rubber Soul,’ he visited us at a friend’s flat one evening. Whilst projecting the slides on to an album-sized piece of white cardboard, Bob inadvertently tilted the card backwards. The effect was to stretch the perspective and elongate the faces. We excitedly asked him if it was possible to print the photo in this way. Being Bob, he said, ‘Yes,’ and the cover to our album ‘Rubber Soul’ was decided.”
Fans who have seen the new photo have been very complimentary. One wrote “What a cool picture, cool album.”
Indeed it is.
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