Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Barry Feinstein – Photographer

The photographer Barry Feinstein, who died last month shot some of the most enduring rock music images of the 1960s. His portrait of Janis Joplin taken the day before she died graced the cover of her album, Pearl, while his image of George Harrison sitting on a chair surrounded by garden statues appeared on the ex-Beatle’s solo album, All Things Must Pass. His best known work is probably the monochrome image of an unsmiling Bob Dylan on the 1964 album, The Times They Are A-Changin’. Feinstein began his career shooting portraits of film stars for Columbia but branched out taking more candid pictures of the stars outside the studio. After meeting Dylan, he became the singer’s official photographer on his 1966 tour and chronicled Dylan’s switch from acoustic to electric music. “Musicians are actually easier to photograph than movie stars,” he once said. “They’re just not as uptight.”

The American photographer Barry Feinstein, who has died aged 80, made his most famous series of images when he accompanied Bob Dylan and the Band on their controversial tour of Britain in 1966. On stage, Dylan was aloof to the point of imperious, a dandy in shades and a sharp suit, willing his new electric music on disgruntled audiences who wanted the familiar folk singer they knew and revered.

When Feinstein’s fly-on-the-wall photographs of the tour finally appeared in his book Real Moments, published in 2008, Dylan emerged as an even more complex figure. Often he looks gaunt and fragile, his eyes hidden behind ever-present shades, his body hunched against the cold British winds and the imploring eyes of his faithful. One such image of Dylan waiting for the Aust ferry to take him across the Severn was used as the poster for No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese’s epic 2005 documentary on Dylan.”...more of this obituary by Sean O’Hagen

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