Photographer in Portland, Oregon
Jeff Freeman, Photo-Syntheticist
It wasn't easy. Even from the very beginning. Jeff came into the world after 22 hours of hard labor by his poor mom, his head so big that the doctors finally had to take him out by C-section. He says this must account for his bent (and some would say, cone-headed) view of the world, and for his love of photography.
But how did he become a photographer?
He kept his true love secret for years. Curiously, Jeff's background is in engineering. Thinking he should be an engineer―a practical profession―he made a living as a web-designer, continuing to apply his engineer's mind to art and commerce. But somewhere along the way, he heeded the call of his passion. As that big-headed kid, he used to spend hours poring over National Geographic magazines, imagining what it was like to be one of those adventurer-photographers. And there was something about the connection with the physics of light, the beauty of the world, and his own urgency to make pictures that he could no longer resist. He had to bring them together in one enterprise: Photo-synthesis.
Great Artists Steal
Jeff says his great influences have been, of course, the greats of photography; Joe McNally, Annie Liebowitz, Ansel Adams, and Richard Avedon. He is unabashed about "stealing" from their techniques. He likes to say, "Great artists steal," stealing this famous quote itself from Steve Jobs who, aptly, stole it from Picasso. Looking at Jeff's work, you can see where he's been influenced by all the great photographers. It's quite deliberate. But it's still uniquely Jeff's.
The No-Technique Technique
Does he use tricks? Of course. But Jeff's main trick is to so mask the technique that the observer isn't even aware of it. It's the subject that's the star. Whether it's a person, a room, an object, or a scene, when you look at a Jeff Freeman shot, you are taken by the subject, not the technique.
His portraits are so alive you feel as though you are right there talking to the person.
His interiors make you want to curl up in them.
His food is so good you can taste it.
When you look at his landscapes you feel the air and hear the trees rustling.
This is when Jeff knows his work is done. The photos speak for themselves. And that's photo-synthesis.