Donavan Freberg

I shot my first picture in the summer of 1977, the same year that two of my favorite movies came out, Star Wars and Annie Hall. I was six, and the camera was the Polaroid SX-70.  I can still remember the soft brown leather that smelled like an old wallet and the shiny round shutter release button that was the color of a freshly washed fire engine. I’ll never forget that camera and the way it felt to watch the little picture develop before my eyes. My father told me the story of how the camera was invented by a man named Land and how he had gotten the idea from his little girl who asked why the film lab couldn’t go inside the camera.

Thank god for little children and brave geniuses.

During my childhood and young adulthood, I worked alongside my own father, a brave genius in his own right, Stan Freberg. He was a revolutionary recording artist, satirist and advertising legend, and he showed me the ropes as an actor, ad man, and creative. My mother, Donna Freberg, was his editor and producer and the inimitable force behind his everything. She taught me about being kind, “the business” and how they went together – that all artists have to be seen, understood, and given support.

I voiced many Saturday morning cartoons and commercials through my youth and adolescence, including Charlie Brown and Linus from Peanuts, but my highest profile role was starring in the iconic television commercials for Encyclopedia Britannica in the 1980’s and 90’s. My dubious honors from that include being spoofed by Saturday Night Live, The Onion, VH1 and GQ magazine.

In my early 30’s, I followed in my dad’s advertising footsteps and worked at Chiat\Day as a copywriter, where I helped to create campaigns for clients ranging from Apple to Nissan.

I have also experienced life “outside” the business, entering graduate school, studying psychology and earning a master’s degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

What I realized during my tenure in psychology and medicine, is that my mother’s lessons about artists really applied to just… people. Everyone needs to seen, understood, and given support. A decade of connecting with all kinds of patients and people deepened my understanding of what being an artist is: it’s connecting.

The pulse of being a creative quickened within me and I decided to permanently hang up my doctor’s coat and replace the stethoscope around my neck with my lifelong companion, my camera. Around that same time, by chance, I ran into an old friend and mentor, famed glamour and fashion photographer Harry Langdon and shortly thereafter, I became his full time apprentice and studio manager. For several years, I assisted Harry in the photographing of celebrities, rock stars, supermodels and corporate big wigs. Working directly alongside one of my photographic idols re-ignited my lifelong passion; the Polaroid seed that was planted as a child had now become a full grown Hasselblad tree from which a full time profession would be born.

I have had several careers, but through the lens, I found my calling.

To me, photography is me + you + light + play = gold.

Photography is where I get to connect, see, help, and create – all at once. Whether my client is a working actor, a bride or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, I love gaining the confidence of the subject, earning their trust, and letting their authentic self shine on camera. I want to tell the truth about them with my camera so they can see the truth about themselves. The truth that they are beautiful. I find this specific aspect of photography equally humbling, challenging and thrilling.

It is my deepest desire to help you tell your story with my camera.

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