Our previous blog entry yielded a great deal of feedback, much of it courtesy of the essential Dylan site Expecting Rain. We are grateful. We’re told the camera in question belonged to Daniel Kramer, who made the cover photograph of “Highway 61 Revisited” and who, lo and behold, will be visiting us at the Center for Documentary Studies in two weeks. Ostensibly, Dan’s visit is so he can hear himself on Smith’s loft tapes talking with Smith about Dylan and photography in 1965. While in town he’s agreed to take part in a brown bag lunch event at CDS on Wednesday October 13 at noon. More details about this event are below.
JAZZ LOFT BROWN BAG / Wednesday, October 13, Noon
Daniel Kramer: “Bob Dylan and W. Eugene Smith”
Moderated by Sam Stephenson, Jazz Loft Project Director
Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
Daniel Kramer, a New York–based photographer and film director, has long been recognized for his portraits and picture stories in national and international magazines and books. Kramer’s photographs have been exhibited or collected by the Whitney Museum of American Art, the International Center of Photography, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Experience Music Project, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and numerous other national and international galleries.
Kramer’s 1967 book, Bob Dylan, the first major work about the performer-songwriter, was recently reprinted as Bob Dylan: A Portrait of the Artist’s Early Years (2001). His Dylan photographs were also used on the album covers for Highway 61 Revisited (1965), Biograph (1985) and Bringing It All Back Home (1965). Many of Kramer’s photographs of Dylan can also be seen in Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home: Bob Dylan.
In August 1964, after months of phone calls and letters to Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, Kramer was given the opportunity to arrange a portrait sitting in Woodstock, New York, with the 23-year-old performer who was by then in the process of becoming an international star. The two men quickly developed a warm and trusting professional relationship that allowed for many extraordinary photographic sessions.
W. Eugene Smith consulted with Kramer about these photographs and recorded their conversations in Smith’s loft at 821 Sixth Avenue, in New York City, the focus of the extensive Jazz Loft Project based at the Center for Documentary Studies. (Read more: www.jazzloftproject.org)
The brown bag presentation will focus on Kramer’s work as an early Bob Dylan documentary photographer and on Kramer’s friendship and stories regarding Dylan and W. Eugene Smith. Kramer will show his photographs, and the presentation will feature recordings from the loft at 821 Sixth Avenue in 1965, with conversation about Dylan by Kramer and Smith.
Moderator Sam Stephenson, director of the Jazz Loft Project at CDS, has researched the life and work of photographer W. Eugene Smith since 1997 and has authored three books: Dream Street: W. Eugene Smith’s Pittsburgh Project (W. W. Norton, 2001), W. Eugene Smith 55 (Phaidon Press, 2001), and The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue (Knopf, November 2009). His biography of Smith, Picture Paradise, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
NOTE: Bob Dylan’s current tour brings him to North Carolina during the week of this event. He will appear in Charlotte on October 14 and in Winston-Salem on October 16. See details: http://www.bobdylan.com/#/tour