Francis Bacon, Encounters

It was 1977 the first time I met Francis Bacon, in Paris, in a bar on Rue des Beaux-Arts. Another time, I went to his studio in London that same year for a photo shoot. The third and last time we saw each other was in London again, at his studio and at the Marlborough. Afterwards we went for lunch at Wheeler’s in Soho. On these occasions I took several photographs of him – he was a relaxed subject.

When I’m asked about the times I met Bacon, people mostly want to know about the subjects we discussed. We talked about painting, photography, about his Parisian friends too – among them Michel Leiris.

There was never any difficulty photographing him. He was there, present, available.

Francis Bacon was a great painter and cultured, which everyone knows. To my mind he was also a gentleman. Open to agreeing to have a novice photographer like myself in his studio.

Mission accomplished, according to Marc Fumaroli in his publication Célébrations, la poétique de Carlos Freire: “The photos of Carlos Freire have immediately proven to be a superb and violent elegy, the most accurate gloss of Bacon’s paintings and his end-of-an-art poetry.”

It is Majid Boustany’s sharp eye that recognised the singular and rare quality in my photos, which was an essential criterion for their being included in the collection at the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation in Monaco. They are very much at home in this rare and unique place.

November 2014, Paris

Carlos Freire

Portrait of Francis Bacon in his Reece Mews studio (1977).
Photo and © Carlos Freire
MB Art Collection