Bob Dylan photos: early New York portraits by Ted Russell

Connoisseurs of Bob Dylan photos will want to see the exhibition of early portraits by Ted Russell, currently on show in Bob Dylan: NYC 1961-1964 at the Richard Goodall Gallery, High Street, Manchester, England.

But you’ll need to hurry – the exhibition of Bob Dylan photos was advertised as closing this Saturday, 14 November. (And I’d check with the gallery before travelling.)

The 33 Bob Dylan photos on display include historic shots of the young singer at Gerde’s Folk City and the controversial National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee Bill of Rights dinner, where Dylan received the Tom Paine Award and delivered an address which reportedly upset some fellow diners.  Ted Russell took the Bob Dylan photos in various assignments for Life magazine.

Limited edition prints of the images are on sale at £950-£1,900. The exhibition is due to travel to venues in Ireland and LA – watch ROCK ART EDITIONS for details.

Bob Dylan photos 1961-1964: new book

If, like most readers of ROCK ART EDITIONS, you can’t get to the Manchester or subsequent exhibitions, you can still enjoy the 33 images – plus 50 or so more – in the splendid book on which the show is based – Bob Dylan: NYC 1961-1964, by Ted Russell, with Chris Murray, Foreword by Donovan (NYC, Rizzoli International Publications, 2014, hardback).

Bob Dylan photos 1961-1964

Bob Dylan NYC 1961-1964, © Ted Russell/Rizzoli International Publications 2014

Bob Dylan: NYC 1961-1964 is a desirable, handsome collection, evoking a time and place which now seem shrouded in the mists of history.

Bob Dylan photos 1961-1964: my favourites

A few of the book’s Bob Dylan photos are familiar, but many others were new to me. I particularly like three sequences:

* the shots of Dylan with Suze Rotolo in their Greenwich Village apartment,

* the half dozen shots of the NECLC Bill of Rights Tom Paine Award dinner, showing Dylan being scrutinised by, and engaged in deep conversation with, radical novelist James Baldwin, an influential spokesman for the civil rights of African-Americans, and

* the pensive two-shots with tour manager Victor Maymudes, showing them (presumably) plotting Dylan’s guerrilla attack on the citadels of American popular music.

My favourite Bob Dylan photo in this lovely collection is the final shot, a grainy, gloomy shot of Dylan, guitar case in hand, marching purposefully towards the camera down a Village street: on the road again… .

Shortcomings of this wonderful collection? Very few and very minor. An additional page at the end labelling the different shoots, with captions, would enhance the book – although most aficionados of Bob Dylan photos, the audience for this fine work, will have little trouble identifying the people accompanying Dylan.

Bob Dylan: NYC 1961-1964 is a fine portfolio of Bob Dylan photos. Ted Russell’s documentation of the crucial early days of one of the greats of 20th culture places him in the premier division of early Dylan photographers, alongside better-known chroniclers like John Cohen and Don Hunstein.

Bravo Ted Russell (and collaborators)!

Copyright: book cover illustration © Ted Russell/Rizzoli International Publications 2014. Text © Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2015. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

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