Photo show captures Bob Dylan, rock star in the making


Rare photographs of Bob Dylan, shot over a year-long period in the mid-1960s, go on show in Paris on Tuesday in an exhibit that captures the moment the protest folk singer morphed into cult rock star. From 1961 to 1966, Dylan wrote seven albums that marked the history of pop, but also underwent a radical transformation between the first, ‘Bob Dylan’, and the last, ‘Blonde on Blonde’. Entitled ‘Bob Dylan: The Rock Explosion 1961-66,’ the Paris show centres on 60 rare shots by the New York photographer Daniel Kramer, captured at the precise moment Dylan was making the switch from folk to rock. Kramer, now 80, first approached Dylan-whose real name is Robert Zimmerman-after seeing the young man in his 20s on television, performing a song called ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.’ “I didn’t know much about this music but when I heard this song, and this young guy with a guitar, and no other musicians, it was overwhelming,” recalled the photographer. After six months of badgering, Dylan’s agent finally agreed to grant Kramer an hour with the singer. “So I ran up the following week, and I met Bob and my hour turned into five hours.” For exactly a year the pair continued to meet and take pictures, from a bucolic shot of Dylan perched up a tree, taken in Woodstock on August 27th, 1964, to the singer tuning up his electric guitar for a concert in New York’s Forest Hills stadium, on August 28th the following year. Over the course of those crucial 12 months, Kramer captured Dylan in concentration, joking around and sharing private moments with Joan Baez, or conversations with Allen Ginsberg or Johnny Cash. The 1965 album ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ epitomised the transformation. The Paris show, which runs to July 15, also features shots of Dylan as a child, then a chubby teenager in school yearbooks from his Minnesota hometown, as well as manuscripts, a guitar, and a raft of sound archives loaned by the Grammy Museum.