BOB DYLAN BY DON HUNSTEIN, 1962
Don Hunstein, Columbia Record’s staff photographer for more than four decades, was dispatched to take photographs of the budding artist Bob Dylan even before he became famous.
“Bob had recorded his first album, ‘Bob Dylan,’ the year before,” recalled Dee Ann Hunstein, Mr. Hunstein’s wife. “The head of Columbia Records saw that he was going to be a star and he told Don to go take some pictures. Dylan was only 19-years-old then—a total unknown. So Don went down to West 4th Street, to his apartment, to get some shots.”
After taking a few exposures in the apartment, Mr. Hunstein had a moment of inspiration. He invited the singer and his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, to go down into the street for some shots in natural light.
“He thought he might do better in the street,” recalled Mrs. Hunstein. “The light was right and, fortunately, Jones Street, which ran from Bleecker to West 4th Street, was not traveled much, so they could walk right down the center of the road. He had them walk down the street a couple of times, taking pictures in color and black- and-white.”
“We met Suze again a few years ago and she remembered how romantic it was to be an aspiring artist in Greenwich Village,” Mrs. Hunstein recalled. “She was even younger than Dylan, only 17 at the time, and she met him in Greenwich Village, where she went after she left high school. She wanted the arty life of the village and she did become an artist.”
What Ms. Rotolo did not want on that bitter cold, damp, afternoon was to go out into the street. “She got her warmest sweater and coat,” Mrs. Hunstein recalled. “But she said Bob was so vain he only wanted to be photographed in his suede jacket—he wasn’t going to put on a heavy sweater! So Don got a picture of them walking down the street, with Suze cuddled right up to him for warmth.”
That seemingly spontaneous picture became an icon for the era. “There are so many legends about that picture,” Mrs. Hunstein said. “One art director claimed he was responsible for it. Everyone claims it, but it was the spontaneity Don got that made it work. It was just Don and his sense of how to capture people’s characters. That’s the real story.” (read more)
MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVE
Above photographs are part of the Michael Ochs Archive. It was created in the mid-1970s by music industry maven Michael Ochs, brother of legendary folk singer Phil Ochs. Michael compiled the collection from a range of sources, such as celebrity photographers, artist estates, music labels and publishers. (+) Ochs sold the archive to Getty Images in 2007.
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