Ted Russell: Bob Dylan, NYC 1961-64

  January –
February 2016

Bob Dylan playing guitar on his bed in his apartment, 161 W 4th St, Greenwich Village, NYC, 1961
(c) Ted Russell / Govinda Gallery

BOB DYLAN, NYC 1961-64 – photographs by Ted Russell

From the exhibition "Bob Dylan, NYC 1961-64 - photographs by Ted Russell" at Gallery of Photography Ireland, Jan 21-Feb 21 2016, Curated by Chris Murray. Free for use only in the context of preview/review of the exhibition.

Portrait of Bob in his fisherman’s cap, Greenwich Village, NYC
(c) Ted Russell / Govinda Gallery


Irish premiere exhibition of Ted Russell’s intimate, previously unseen, photographs of Bob Dylan in New York City. The photographs chronicle days in the life of the then unknown folk artist – backstage and onstage at the folk clubs, hanging out in his apartment with his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, at his writing desk, and on the street. They give a fresh, candid glimpse of what life in Greenwich Village was like for the 20 year-old folk bard.

Chris Murray, exhibition curator and co-author of the accompanying book, notes: “This collection of photographs by Ted Russell is a unique document of Dylan’s first years as a musical artist and his genesis in Greenwich Village. In the photographs, as in Dylan’s music, we can see his conviction and compassion, his humour, and his love of song. Whether he was inspired by Little Richard, the Clancy Brothers or Woody Guthrie, Dylan remained rooted in tradition while making something contemporary and of his own time. We are enriched by this portrait of the artist as a young man.”

Ted Russell took the photographs in order to pitch a story about the trials and tribulations of an up-and-coming folk singer – a theme that has recently been taken up in the acclaimed film Inside Llewyn Davis. But back then, the subject failed to drum up interest: “Saturday Evening Post editors were enthusiastic about my proof sheets… but when I played a Dylan demo record, they asked me if I was playing it at the correct speed, and they passed”, Russell recalls, laughing.

After 50 years lying largely dormant in a file cabinet, the complete collection has been brought to light in Bob Dylan: NYC 1961-1964 (Rizzoli 2015). The book includes texts by Ted Russell and Chris Murray, and a foreword by Donovan. It is available in the Gallery Bookshop at €34.


About Ted Russell, the photographer:
Ted Russell is an American photographer and photojournalist whose work has appeared on the covers of Life, Newsweek, Time, and New York magazines, to name only a few. Born in London, he worked in Fleet St, Brussels and Frankfurt before moving to New York. Drafted into the US Army, he served as unit photographer in the Korean War. After attending the University of California at Berkeley, he returned to New York and became a regular contributing photographer for Life for over 12 years, and he was later Cover Photo Editor of Newsweek for 11 years. Russell has won numerous awards, and his work has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

About Chris Murray, the curator:
Chris Murray is a writer and founder of Govinda Gallery, Washington DC, which represents some of the best rock music–related fine art photography and photographers in the world. Murray has organized over 200 exhibitions of many of the leading artists of our time, from Andy Warhol in the 1970s to Annie Leibovitz’s first exhibition in 1984. He is co-curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition Elvis at 21 and is the author or editor of over a dozen books, including Alfred Wertheimer’s Elvis and the birth of rock and roll; Dick Waterman Between Midnight and Day: the last unpublished blues archive, and The Rolling Stones 50×20.


Acknowledgments: This exhibition is presented in partnership with Govinda Gallery, Washington DC. It is kindly supported by Tradfest.


Plus, in Gallery 2:

Carlotta Hester | THE PURE DROP

Drawings of Traditional Irish Musicians, Singers and Dancers

From the exhibition "The Pure Drop - drawings of Irish traditional musicians, singers and dancers by Carlotta Hester". On view in Gallery 2 at the Gallery of Photography Ireland, Jan 26-Feb 21 2016. Supported by Stauntons on the Green and TradFest 2016. Free for use only in the context of review/preview of the exhibition

Joe Ward, from Co. Tyrone, fiddle, bodhran and singer at a cross-border session, Peace III Offices, 16//8/2010. (c) Carlotta Hester / Govinda Gallery

During the summers of 2010, 2011, and 2012, American artist Carlotta Hester made over 150 drawings in County Cavan. Each is an exquisite rendering of traditional Irish musicians, singers and dancers captured at the height of their creative flow. For this exhibition, the artist has selected 24 drawings which present a visual distillation of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the largest of all traditional Irish music festivals.

Hester’s drawings are created direct from life, while listening to the music in every festival setting – street sessions, theatres, dance classes, pub sessions, masterclasses, outdoor concerts, cross-border gatherings, and more.

Musical artists from all over Ireland (North and South), as well as Scotland, England, and the United States are depicted in these drawings. Well-known names including fiddlers Tommy Peoples and Oisin MacDiarmada, harpist Catriona McKay and lilter Seamus Fay rub shoulders with new talents and rising stars of the next generation.

Presented during Tradfest as a companion exhibition to Ted Russell’s photographs of Bob Dylan, Hester’s work captures the spirit of traditional music that was such a major inspiration for Dylan back in the sixties. More than this, The Pure Drop is a forward-looking celebration of the artistry of deep-rooted Irish traditions which continue to thrive today.

About Carlotta Hester, the artist:

Carlotta Hester gained a BFA from Washington University, St Louis, MO and has exhibited in Washington DC, in Ireland and in Cuba. She combines her art practice with art teaching, and has been the art teacher at the prestigious Maret School since 1994. She received the Fishman Fellow Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2012.
She is represented by Govinda Gallery, Washington DC.


Special thanks to Jim Staunton of ‘Stauntons on the Green’ for his kind support for this exhibition