The family of Beatles photographer Robert Freeman have embarked on a mission to preserve his lifetime’s work by putting a portrait of John Lennon up for sale.

The family have re-released Robert Freeman’s 1965 portrait of John Lennon in a bid to raise funds. It is available to buy via the project’s website (pictured above) at www.freemanarchive.com

They also hope to raise money to help the photographer recover from a stroke that has left him unable to work.

Freeman photographed the Beatles for their first five album covers.

Over a 60-year career, his high-profile subjects have also included Andy Warhol, Sophia Loren and Marianne Faithfull.

Freeman is credited as the first Pirelli calendar photographer.

On the fundraising website, the family say: ‘Now 78, extremely frail and living alone in a small hostel room, he needs care, financial assistance to recuperate and will need a place where he can retain his independence while being properly cared for.’

Freeman suffered a stroke after moving to Spain in the 1990s, but has refused help from his family, according to his son Dean, a director and former photographer to the Spice Girls.

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Dean today told Amateur Photographer that the family plan to digitise the images and create an exhibition of his work.

He said the archive currently resides at a garage in Spain, not under the best conditions.

‘Due to his ill health and financial situation the [future of] the work is in jeopardy.’

The family add: ‘Robert’s valuable archive of work is falling rapidly into disrepair since he can no longer look after it.

‘We would like to help Robert recuperate and work on preserving these great images and stories.

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‘His is an irreplaceable analogue body of work, which would be heartbreaking to see needlessly lost to future generations.’

The family have re-released Freeman’s image entitled ‘John Lennon with Panda’ as an archival, metallic-edition C-type print.

Taken at Lennon’s home in Weybridge, Surrey, in 1965, the former Beatle is seen with a toy panda belonging to his then two-year-old son Julian.

The print is available in A2 and A3 sizes, priced £600 and £300 (plus VAT and shipping) respectively.

Each print will carry a unique edition number and a letter of authenticity.

The sale ends on 15 May 2015.

For further details visit www.freemanarchive.com.

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[All photos courtesy of Robert Freeman © / www.freemanarchive.com]