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Ed Freeman’s Mesmerising Underwater Nudes

Ed Freeman’s work consists of multiple photographic series, such as buildings in the American West that might have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for his attentive eye. It makes you stop and reflect on the more subtle – yet still so beautiful – sights that one can behold. But what stands out the most is undoubtedly his underwater series of nudes. As if taken straight out of a Rococo masterpiece, with full-grown putti, or maybe a real-life Birth of Venus (like the one by Cabanel… ehem … where are all my art history nerds at?!) What I’m trying to say is: nudes swimming in the gravity-defying water, with the sun beaming through the surface creating pastel hues … it’s just. so. beautiful.

Ed Freeman started out as a musician‚ touring with the Beatles and producing over two dozen albums for highly acclaimed artists. But Freeman changed gear and decided on a mid-life career switch and now works as a full-time, LA-based photographer.

After being handed a camera by his mother at the age of twelve, Freeman built a darkroom in his childhood basement where he could work on his craft. So perhaps photography isn’t such an unexpected career change. Music production, in fact, was never something he intended to do for the rest of his life. Instead, he wanted to create something for his own. He started out doing head shots for actors and gradually moved on to shooting commercial work. Today his main focus is on large fine art prints sold in galleries all over the world.

Often described as a pioneer in using Photoshop manipulation, Freeman captures fleeting moments with his camera and then retouches his work to a point beyond recognition. This blurs the lines between photography and digital art, like so many other artists these days. Because really, what once was a rarity, i.e. snapping pictures, is now a common practice; anyone with a decent phone can do it. What makes art out of it is taking it a few steps further. Freeman has embraced all the technical advances enthusiastically. And, in a way, being a record producer is not too far off from his practice as a visual artist. He recorded things in real life and then manipulated and polished his recordings so they would sound better. Which is quite literally what he does to his photographs too.

On his websites he puts into words the unique atmosphere that is more or less only achievable through underwater shoots: “Underwater is one of the most demanding, yet rewarding environments for fine art figure photography. Bodies, attitudes and relationships transform in a gravity-free environment, creating new options for images that would be difficult or impossible to achieve on dry land.” Indeed, the subjects’ nudity becomes something so natural in it’s vulnerability when captured under the water surface. You can find more of his work here.

by Michelle Hallström
Pictures  by Ed Freeman
NBGA MAG

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