Monday, 6 February 2012

Shooting Highway 61 Revisited

The Player:
Daniel Kramer is a renowned photographer who worked with Bob Dylan throughout the mid-1960s, shooting the covers of Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited. His work on Dylan is featured in Bob Dylan: A Portrait of the Artist's Early Years.

Daniel Kramer:
The Highway 61 cover made in New York, is a very short story how that came about. We had worked for hours, all afternoon, photographing at a location in front of O. Henry's Restaurant. I had done all kinds of pictures of Bob at the outdoor café.

At one point I wasn't happy with what he was wearing, so we went around the corner and we bought new clothes in a men's store. Then we put the newly-draped Bob back in the picture and we shot for another couple of hours. We even had the tags still on the shirt cuffs and sleeve, because we didn't take them off, we didn't know if we would return them afterward [laughing] so we still have all the tags on

When we finished these rolls and rolls and rolls of pictures, we all dragged ourselves back to the apartment where Bob was living; he was sharing an apartment with Albert Grossman in New York. And when we got there Bob said, "You know, I have a new T-shirt. A motorcycle T-shirt. I'd like to just have a picture of it. Of me in this motorcycle T-shirt." I think it was for himself that he wanted to have this picture. So he went in, put on the T-shirt, came out, and he said, "How's about this? Maybe we could use this for something." I said, "Well, maybe we could use it. Let's do something. What can we do?" I said, "Nothing." Because we were finished and we were all tired and we were there on the stoop of the building.

So Bob sat down on the steps and I looked through the camera, and it looked a little naked behind him. His road manager then was Bob Neuwirth. So Bobby Neuwirth stood behind him in kind of a striped shirt, and I still needed something else. So I dug into my camera bag and came up with a Nikon SP that I had done a lot of the shooting of all of these pictures that I'd done of Dylan was with this particular camera, because it's not a single lens reflex, it's a range-finder camera like a Leica, which gives a very little sound when you're shooting, and so it's more discreet. I gave Bobby that camera to hold and he held it at a level I kept ranging, so that it would just kind of fill some of the void in the background. And I shot two frames. That's the end of the story.


  1. Nice shirt, Bob.

  2. Da wears the same shirt in The Habit every Wednesday night. (A gift from Bob.)