The Photography of Paul Freeman

'Vagabondo,' © Paul Freeman.


The Photography of Paul Freeman

Freeman has long been on Playgirl’s radar. Reviewing the best-selling Bondi series back in 2007, we commented: “For Paul Freeman, photography is a religious experience. Drawing upon the depiction of the male form in art images from his Australian, Irish-Catholic upbringing, Freeman photographs his Aussie male models like they are at the center of a larger, holier tableau. Imagining his subjects as characters in a story and using the rocky shores of Sydney as a dramatic background, Freeman believes he presents male beauty, with all its complexities, as a heroic virtue.”

From 'Bloke' - Mitch Josh

“Mitch & Josh,” from ‘Bloke,’ © Paul Freeman.

The ‘larrikin’ ideal of masculinity has shaped most of Freeman’s brawny nudes and his aesthetic. And it inspires his latest two photobooks: Bloke, set in rural and outback Australia, and Vagabondo, photographed mostly in Italy (but also across Europe and the United States).  Rugged men in their work locations from morning to dusk in Bloke. Rugged men on the road, in nature, among the ruins in Vagabondo. Some may recognize Irishman Fiachra, Playgirl’s Man of November 2023 (here he is, climbing a ladder and walking his German shepherds).  All of us will revel in the poetry and the sensuality of Freeman’s images. His settings aren’t just fungible “backgrounds,” the lighting isn’t merely decorative: they’re no less noteworthy, no less beautiful than the handsome men Freeman lenses; in fact, they’re integral to these men’s beauty -to their strong bodies and their adventurous spirit.