In this incredible large format book, we have chosen to present Ken’s photographs free of text, so that nothing detracts from the power of the images. The sequencing is broadly chronological, with a blend of live and offstage material, including:
Ken’s first shoot in October 1975, documenting a day of rehearsal sessions in New York.
Secret Sound Studios in Manhattan when Bette Midler and Bob duet on “Buckets of Rain” for her Songs for the New Depression album.
The Other End club in Greenwich Village, when Bob Dylan duets with Ronee Blakley.
The party in Greenwich Village where Ken takes a famous series of photographs of Patti Smith and Bob Dylan in animated discussion on the stairs. Patti Smith is invited on Rolling Thunder, but doesn’t go. She recalls Phil Ochs pouring a bucket of beer over her at this party, echoing an earlier incident where Bette Midler throws beer in her face.
Plymouth, Massachusetts, visiting The Mayflower II and Plymouth Rock. It is here that Ken takes the photograph of Bob Dylan in the fur collared technicolor coat that would appear on the cover of Desire. Ken later picks Desire as his favourite Dylan album.
Lowell, Massachusetts, where Ken photographs Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg visit Jack Kerouac’s grave.
The Sea Crest Motel in North Falmouth, Massachusetts and a series of pictures marking the appearance on camera of Bob Dylan’s beagle. The Sea Crest is the band’s early base and the cavernous indoor tennis court area is converted into rehearsal space for them.
A day at Mama Frasca’s Dream Away Lodge, in Becket, Massachusetts. The owner, the larger-than-life Mama, is a huge Joan Baez fan, and takes the dungaree-clad Joan upstairs and gives her a present—her wedding dress. It fits like a glove. They shoot scenes for Renaldo & Clara with Joan in the dress, and eat home cooked food.
Durham, New Hampshire, where Ken takes close up portraits of Bob Dylan in whiteface. “I want the people way in the back to be able to see my eyes.” Ken recalls Bob Dylan explaining to him.
The Breakers, in Newport, Rhode Island, with Bob Dylan leading the troupe along the waterfront, blowing his trumpet.
New Haven, Connecticut, where Ken photographs Bob Dylan in his dressing room, without the whiteface makeup, wearing the now iconic hat adorned with flowers, and a scarf over his left shoulder. “He turned around and looked right at me. I caught his eye and asked him to hold it for a minute. It was more like thirty seconds.” recalled Ken. Bob Dylan declares this to be the best photograph anyone has ever taken of him. After holding the image back for twenty seven years, it is used in 2002 on the front cover of The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue.
Niagara Falls—and then into Canada, including photographs taken at Gordon Lightfoot’s house in Toronto, and in Montreal, where Joan Baez dresses as Bob Dylan, complete with whiteface.
The Night of the Hurricane benefit concert on 8 December 1975 at Madison Square Garden, where Muhammad Ali visits Bob Dylan backstage, and gives him a gift—a huge boxing glove.
The day before, on Sunday 7 December 1975, when Bob Dylan visits Rubin Carter in jail, and plays an abbreviated set to an audience of inmates in Clinton, New Jersey. Ken’s photograph of Bob Dylan and Rubin Carter is the final image in the book.