Joe Friezer (1918-1998)
Photographer Joe Friezer was born Juda Friezer on May 29, 1918 in Dordrecht, Holland. Also known as Joep, Friezer lived in Rotterdam and took an apprenticeship in the Hague in his teenage years and established a photography business in the Hague.
During the Second World War, Friezer married Goldina (nee Valk) in 1942. Both were involved with Dutch resistance efforts. According to his son, Henk, Friezer helped to publish an underground newspaper during the war and was at one point captured by the Dutch police, who later released him due to pressure and threats made from the Dutch resistance. Their son, Henk Friezer, was born in 1942 in a Catholic hospital under a fake name, Jonny Frieling. The family lived under a dog kennel with other Dutch underground resistance members, where they lived until the end of the war, when they moved to the Hague. They eventually had two more children- two daughters, who were born after Henk.
After the war, Joe Friezer became an elite photographer who was assigned by newspapers to accompany Dutch Queen Juliana as a press photographer on her trips. During this time, Friezer was one of the designated photographers sent out by newspapers to photograph the Dutch royal family.
As his photography business grew, Friezer added a store and a basement darkroom as well as more employees. During this time, the Friezer family lived above the store. Aside from running his own studio, Friezer was also one of the photographers involved in the creation of ANP (Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau), a Netherlands Press Bureau organization that supplied photographs to newspapers all over the country. ANP still exists today.
In 1955, after accompanying Queen Juliana on a few trips to the United States, Friezer decided to move his family to the United States, abandoning his lucrative business in the process. Arriving first in New York, the Friezer family stayed first in New York for a couple months in the apartment of famous CBS news correspondent and journalist Daniel Schorr, who Friezer had previously met and who was in Moscow at the time on assignment. Having found no work, Friezer left New York shortly thereafter for Los Angeles, where a former colleague, Eric Hoff, suggested that they could start their own photography business together. Friezer and Hoff's studio was first established on Vermont Ave. near Los Angeles Community College where the two shot portraits, weddings, and commercial photographs. To supplement his income and support the family, Friezer also took odd jobs during this time period: delivering phone books, buffing floors, etc.
His first big break came when Deal Publications, a chain of community newspapers based in Los Angeles, asked Friezer to take photographs. Soon he was asked to work with the Northeast Newspaper as well as other local newspapers and clients (e.g. Occidental College, University of Southern California).
Eventually, Friezer left the studio he started with Hoff to focus on newspapers and local clients. The darkroom he worked out of was built with wood from the shipping crates he sent for his move from Holland to the United States. In addition to working with local newspapers, Friezer also became a West Coast correspondent for some of the biggest newspapers and magazines in Holland (e.g. The Telegraph). His style of taking one photograph per event earned him the nickname of "One Shot Joe" from clients, journalists, and fellow photographers.
Friezer was a member of the Greater Los Angeles Press Club and the California Press Photographers Association, where he was also an award-winning photographer in many of their annual contests. Outside of photography, Friezer was also President of and very involved with a Dutch social club, Neerlandia, which was based in Southern California.
He continued to photograph until his health later declined. Joe Friezer passed away on March 24, 1998.