Watching the snow - gently falling as they say - after trudging around in it on this winter afternoon. Navigating all the icy slush on the NYC corner crossings, got me to thinking about one of my favorite album cover shots, the Freewheelin' Bob Dylan picture taken by Don Hunstein back on that snowy day in another February in another century - the year 1963.
photo by Don Hunstein
Things don't look all that different around that part of the neighborhood nowadays. Jones Street betweeen Bleecker and West 4th, where the picture was shot is still a pretty quiet block. Just around the corner at 161 West 4th Street is the apartment where Dylan and girlfriend Suze Rotolo were living. So it wasn't much of a hike in the cold slushy weather to do the iconic photo session - ain't that always the way.
161 W. 4th St.
Last summer, when I got a free giveaway photo by Don Hunstein with my purchase of Dylan's recent 'Together Through Life' album, I immediately recognized the location to be 161 West 4th. The little stairway stoop in front of the building hasn't changed that much - as you can see. This photo was probably taken at the beginning or end of the session - leaving or returning to Dylan's apartment. Even the railing is still painted the same color. To see how little has changed in that little spot, while looking down those steps through the viewfinder was to look time in the eye.
1963 photo by Don Hunstein
2009 photo by Godlis
But wait one more thing! At the 2007 NY Film Festival screening of Todd Haynes' Dylan film "I'm Not There", I noticed Suze Rotolo herself - looking like, uh Suze Rotolo, quietly hanging around waiting to say hello to the director. I hesitantly asked if I could step into their moment, and do a photo. They said yes and here it is. Don't think twice, just shoot.
Suze Rotolo & Todd Haynes, NYC 2007