Chess games of the rich and famous: Bob Dylan, by Daniel Kramer

Bob Dylan at the chessboard, Woodstock, New York, 1964 - photo copyright Daniel Kramer

Bob Dylan at the chessboard, Woodstock, New York, 1964 – low resolution version of the original photo, copyright by Daniel Kramer – Barbara Archer Galleries

A good decade before I got to Woodstock.

Daniel Kramer began photographing Bob Dylan early in Dylan’s career, making many of the best shots available.

This 1964 photo of Dylan playing chess in Woodstock, New York, featured in an exhibition of Kramer’s photographs put on by Barbara Archer Galleries in 2005.

From the exhibit’s biography of Kramer:

Daniel Kramer is a New York-based photographer and film director who is long recognized for his portraits and picture stories in national and international magazines and books. Shortly after opening his first studio in New York City, Daniel Kramer saw Bob Dylan perform The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll on television in 1964. Even after the show ended, Kramer couldn’t shake the image of Dylan from his mind. “I was completely taken by what this man had done and how he had done it. His performance was perfect. With simple, basic tools – his voice, a guitar, and a harmonica, he drove his message deep into my mind. I was aware that I was seeing a very important talent.”

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 twenty-three-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. “Photography has brought me into contact with many notable people, including Presidents of the United States, and I have happily had the opportunity to meet and talk with prominent people in all walks of life,” comments Kramer. “Although many of these encounters were memorable, my association with Dylan has a special meaning.”

Many of these photographs were first published in Kramer’s 1967 book bob dylan, the first major work about the performer-songwriter (reprinted as Bob Dylan: A Portrait of the Artist’s Early Years, 2001). They were also used on the album covers for Highway 61 Revisited (1965), Biograph (1985) and Bringing It All Back Home (1965), which was nominated for a Grammy and selected by Rolling Stone as one of the “100 Greatest Album Covers of All Time.” A number of rare and previously unpublished pictures by Kramer also appear in the 52-page booklet and packaging that accompanies Bob Dylan’s two-CD set, Live 1964: Concert at Philharmonic Hall – The Bootleg Series, Volume 6 (2004) and on the cover of a three-CD boxed set BOB DYLAN the collection (2004).

Daniel Kramer’s photographs have also been exhibited or collected by such museums as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The International Center of Photography in New York, The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., The Experience Music Project in Seattle, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, and in numerous national and international galleries.

An interesting three-way marriage of the young Bob Dylan, a great photographer in Daniel Kramer, and one of the world’s oldest and most respected games of skill, chess. Go see all the photos.



6 Responses to Chess games of the rich and famous: Bob Dylan, by Daniel Kramer

  1. Tim Giangiobbe says:

    Still thinking about that Bob Dylan concert July 18th 1981
    Was worried about Sarah Palin and along came Trump
    Trump will lose to Hillary real soon when I left a comment six years ago a lot has happened
    Bob Dylan just won a Nobel Prize
    Nobody would have guessed


  2. Jim says:

    And Latvia is heard from…


  3. Dina says:

    Hello! I will be honest with you, as a call for assistance for his family and other families who get into a situation like me. I will be thankful to God, if I help someone. I have to lose his home because I have a reduced salary, I worked as a school teacher and my husband is bankrupt Business, we can no longer pay the loan on his only apartment, buying an apartment, we should also pledge his parents’ apartment, which also wants to deprive the bank , our parents will remain without a home. I am a teacher working in a school with disabled children and am the best teacher in your school, this year I was welcomed as “The Teacher” ‘I am a good actor of his work, but he did not want to live, because we can not pay for their home. I am afraid that my children and my parents would be left without homes. I promise if you make any one help me, I will help as far as we can to families who have found themselves in the same situation as me. Please spare me and my family to remain without a home. I no penny we have no wrong. If you can write to me Thanks


  4. Interesting Dylan Blog.Getting an Interview with Bob was an Impossible Chore for years.HHe would not Mutter a word many times.When he spoke it was Plenty.

    I was at a Concert of his in Germany on July 18th 1981 when I was a GI.Being the Dr and unki Non Com I was at the Time I had kept on Yelling Play evrybody must get stoned.He Ignored me.I Yelled LOUDER.

    Finally He stopped what he was doing,LOOKED RIGHT AT ME and Said,”I Don’t Play that song anymore Buddy and I would Appreciate you Not Yelling anymore.”Then at that very momeny EVERYONE WAS WATCHING ME in the Entire Place.I di whet anyone would do after Bob Just Cut My Balls Off with One Remark.I Capitulated and Said in a Sheepish Tone.”OK” Then he smiled at me and People Laughed.Damn I should be Happy Bob didn’t give any interviews at all.I am sure some reporter was Pissed I provoked more words from Bob Than most.SORRY BOB.
    The World has Changed so much since then,Too many Over Liberal Citizens Don’t get The Threat and Over Conservative don’t want to see their Inflammatory Pushy ways.

    Obama Will be a One Termer I am afraid to say.He will be defeated in the primary by a real Middle ground Player Like Ron Paul Gone Democrat(Don’t laugh weirder things happen) or lose to the Republicans.

    The Republicans will lose if they put all their Eggs in Sarah Palins Basket.She will crack them all.

    This Baby Boomer is Amazed how You Texans have kept the Price of a House affordable,The Inflation here is absurd. LIberal Hippie out for Now!GOD BLESS ALL


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    “Infidels” came out as I was ramping up for law school — part of a dark marquee era for me in music. I don’t have a copy, and I am unfamiliar with the tunes named in your review. I am quite fond of Mark Knopfler’s work, on the other hand, and I am interested to see what his slicker production does for Dylan. Thanks for calling it to my attention.


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