Who is Frank DeFreitas?
Frank "Pop Pop" DeFreitas and the Princess of Dutch Wonderland in 2015.
"What I do is not as important as how I do it."
My name is Frank DeFreitas. For over thirty years, I have provided laser and hologram presentations, workshops and outreach programs. I am now officially "semi" retired, which means retired ... but I am still active "here and there" with presentations, speaking engagements, and welcoming guests from around the world to my home holography studio and historical archives in Allentown, PA, USA.
Since 1983, my past clients include: The Smithsonian Institution, Wash. D.C. (The Hirshhorn Museum & Ripley Education Center); The Franklin Institute, Phila; Stevens Institute of Technology; Liberty Science Center, NJ; The Discovery Center of Science and Technology, PA; Lehigh University Physics Dept.; University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; Mensa; California Institute of Technology (CalTech/JPL); Northampton Community College; Lehigh-Carbon Community College; Allentown Art Museum; Rodale Press; WFMZ-TV; NASA / Northrop Grumman; Georgian Court University Physics Dept.; AT&T; Lucent Technologies; U.S. Navy; Fuji Film Corp.; Dupont; the Urban Systemic Initiative (NSF); and many elementary, middle and high schools. National Science Foundation-funded programs; scouts; home school groups; corporate events; birthday parties; and teaching the very first online class for holography through America On Line in 1995.
I am an elected member of Sigma-Pi-Sigma; the National Physics Honor Society; American Institute of Physics; for my work in laser and holography educational programs.
With my early computer / analog hybrid laser hologram, 1985.
Celestial Navigator Star Tracking Device.
I was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1956. Fortunately, living in the Philadelphia / South Jersey region placed me in a prime location for the earliest days of lasers and holography (Edmund Scientific; Franklin Institute; Metrologic Laser; Holex Corp.; more). I saw my first laser hologram in 1968, attended my first holography exhibit in 1976, designed and built my own laser and holography studio in 1983, and started my world-famous HoloWorld web site in 1995. I began as a kid, and after an entire lifetime there is plenty more to say. But for now I'll just say that sooner or later in your own journey in holography, no matter where you are in the world, you will eventually come across "Frank DeFreitas".
Presenting lasers and holography at a school in 1983.
My 30+ years in holography have been divided into 15 years part-time and 15-years+ full time. I was both a hologram producer and a holography instructor. My history is with traveling outreach: I would take my laser and holography educational programs on the road. Back then, one would find many outreach persons traveling from one area of the country to another, visiting schools, galleries, museums and festivals. I've presented to hundreds of thousands of people over my 30+ years. I could be in a university laser research laboratory one day, under an outdoor festival tent the next, and appearing at a kids birthday party on another. My smallest event was three people, my largest event was seventy thousand. As the saying goes, I've been "around the block" with lasers and holography in my lifetime.
My "best days" were the early 1980's through the mid 1990's. That is over thirty years ago now. It was very different back then for us old timers. Back then, you *had* to exhibit your work and have people come out to see it in person. Today, everything is 2D digital photos on the internet: make the hologram in the lab and then put a photo of it up on a web page. Of course, today everybody is calling everything a "hologram", so they have come up with different ways of displaying the 3D image. I miss the physical exhibits that people would come out and see in person. I also miss the interaction. But, hey, its a free country and if a lot of people accept holography through photos and social media interaction on a screen that is their business, and if they like it, that's fine with me ... although even in 2015 the very best way to see a hologram is in person.
As a side note, I am one of the very few people on Earth to have their name on the surface of another heavenly body: Titan, the great moon of Saturn (Cassini / Huygens mission). My entry reads "My name is Frank DeFreitas and I create three-dimensional laser holograms on Earth". This info is contained on a CDROM in a sealed chamber inside the space craft lander, which landed safely and is sitting on the surface of Titan to be recovered some day in the future.
In my Allentown holography lab, 1983.
Although I am not in possession of a Ph.D., I have helped several Ph.D.'s out of a laser / holography "tight spot" over the years. Fact is, I have a technical education. My background is in printing technologies, and I am a graduate of the now defunct Philadelphia School of Printing and Advertising (with a focus on typography, typesetting and graphic design / prepress such as "wet-mount drum scanning"). This was the era where light based technologies were taking over the printing industry. Never underestimate the power of print, whether on paper or online. Print is the most influential and powerful human-created force in the world, and it is where I have always wanted to be. Not surprisingly, it is where I am, since I consider holography to be a future form of communication technology ... a high-tech, futuristic extension.
I have designed and built my own lasers, optical equipment, and have formulated my own processing chemistry and production methods. My work is truly, and literally, my own.
The first hologram I ever sold, a multi-color reflection hologram, was purchased by Gary Zellerbach of Holos Gallery, located in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco (1792 Haight Street). Long ago and far away.
I currently oversee and maintain a 20,000 piece history of holography archives, which I began in 1976 and call "Antiquarian Holographica". I highly respect the developmental years of lasers and holography, and I am an advocate for keeping the early practices, equipment, techniques and print media (ephemera) as part of its living history. The 20,000+ piece Antiquarian Holographica collection consists of lasers, stereoscopes and views, cameras and projectors, holograms, optics, laboratory equipment, lenticulars, posters, books, advertising, exhibit catalogs, postcards, brochures, newsletters, patents, documents, prototypes, letters, business cards, magazines, press releases, invitations, newspaper articles, production files, announcements, letterheads, industrial catalogs, envelopes, contracts, postage stamps, autographs, and many other examples documenting the history of 3D and holography.
I continue to practice what could be considered "classical" holography: fine tuning the techniques used during holography's early decades of the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. Gas tube lasers (sometimes diode). Gelatin silver emulsions (sometimes photopolymer). Darkroom chemistry. I do not make it a practice of moving on to the "next big thing" each time something else comes along ... which, in practice, only leads to scratching the surface over and over. Instead, I continue to hone my skills to a greater depth of practice and understanding, with classical methodologies refined (and sometimes, redefined).
Although lasers and holography can be distilled to their most basic form as science (primarily physics), this physical sciences reference is of no more value than that of the very early printing press or linotype (both of which would fall under the heading of mechanical physics). Neither the printing press nor the linotype machine would be an initial thought if one would think physics / science of today. Likewise, the optical mathematics of a simple camera system would fill a volume, yet many take breathtaking photographs whether comprehending the formulae, or not at all. The same will hold true for lasers and holography as time moves on. Both will one day be thought of strictly (and simply) as tools to get the job done: lasers to make the holograms, and holograms to provide the images. I know this because I am already there where others will one day follow. I was not professionally trained as a scientist. Nor was I professionally trained as an artist. I make holograms, therefore I am a holographer.
1980's video by now President of ABC Television Stations Group Rebecca Campbell.
(Above Photo Montage): Rebecca Campbell, President of ABC Television Stations Group in NYC, got her start here in Allentown (she was Rebecca Funk at WFMZ TV 69 back then). At the beginning of her career, one of the first stories she produced was showcasing my work with lasers and holograms for a local TV "magazine" called Cover to Cover. I introduced her to the larger holography sphere at the time, and we traveled in to NYC with a crew to interview then director of the New York Museum of Holography, Posy Jackson, and holographic artist Dan Schweitzer. I also suggested the background music in the video (Brian Eno, Apollo, which she used in her televised production). Little did anyone know at the time (including me) that she would become one of the most powerful media executives in the world today. She was great to work with from what I remember from 30+ years ago.
My Christian-based Work and the Holy Bible
I am a recent, born again Christian. In 2010, I gave repentance before God for my life as a sinner. I turned my life over to, and was washed clean by, the blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Don't misunderstand ... I am still a sinner, we all are, and we will have to give account of our entire lives before God. That doesn't change. However, due to God's Grace and Mercy through Christ's sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary, I will not experience eternal separation from him in the fires of Hell. Will you?
Most importantly, my Decision and subsequent regeneration was due to my searching for, and finding, the light of Truth. And I have found that the Truth is Jesus Christ.
Shortly thereafter (2012), while in prayer and asking to serve ("Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:8 KJV), I was given a vision and calling. Utilizing my life-long, God-given talents with lasers and holography, my calling is to research laser and holographic communication technology for the future of Christianity and the Holy Bible ... not only on earth, but also for humanity's future in space.
The objectives for my Christian based laser and holography work are four fold: (1) to help reach those persons in areas of the world where more traditional evangelistic methods are dangerous, even life threatening (stealth laser technology); (2) to research archival / preservation recording methods for Scripture and historical artifacts (3D laser holograms); (3) to one day communicate the Gospel to, from, and between human colonies on the Moon, Mars and beyond (free space laser communication); (4) to prepare youth for future evangelism, utilizing (and further developing) these new technologies. Even if all I do is provide the catalyst for other development by someone else, it is my honor to be in His service and to do so.
After 60 years of my life, with accumulated learning and human experience, I can say that within the last decade I have emerged as an "old-school right-wing, conservative, anti-communism / pro-capitalism, authoritative Biblical inerrancy / literalism advocate, and a steadfast and tireless 'Victory in Christ' activist". That's me.
In 2016, I will be 60 years old and I have been married for 39 years (and together for 41 years). My wife and I have 3 grown daughters, all involved in science and medicine. I have had my private studio and reference library / exhibit room in my downtown historic Allentown, PA home for 32 years. People travel from around the world to visit, to learn, or to just say hello (please call first). As we enter our twilight years, my wife has now joined me in the lab, as we collaborate and produce our own hologram special projects. Our most recent project (2015) focuses primarily on ancient Biblical artifacts that document the events recorded in the Holy Bible.
Today in 2015, after a lifetime in holography as the real life "Holo-Man".
My own personal philosophy / quote is this: "Science is the study of the physical manifestations of God in action". I believe in Creation as documented in the first book of Moses, Genesis. I do not believe that science and God are at odds with each other at all. With science, we gain knowledge and wisdom about God's Creation, and as a result, grow closer in our walk with Him. It is my belief that science will one day catch up with the Word of God … not the other way around. It is your choice to believe or not believe. Ultimately -- and with absolute certainty -- no one is going to escape finding out. Tick, tock …