Saturday 16 December 2017

Barry Feinstein

The legendary photographer who created enduring images of Sixties music icons Dylan and Harrison

Barry Feinstein, the photographer, who died on October 20 aged 80, created some of the most enduring images of the Sixties music scene.

Feinstein was particularly noted for the series of pictures he took of Bob Dylan when he accompanied the singer on his famous tour of Britain in 1966.

Celebrated shots include Dylan at the Aust Ferry crossing on the banks of the River Severn (the image was used on the poster for Martin Scorsese's documentary about Dylan, No Direction Home); and smoking in the back of a limousine as fans peer at him through the window.

Feinstein shot the cover photo for Dylan's album The Times They Are A-Changin, and during the course of his career produced more than 500 album covers, among them Janis Joplin's Pearl; George Harrison's All Things Must Pass; and Donovan's Sunshine Superman.

Barry Feinstein was born on February 4, 1931, in Philadelphia and began taking pictures when in his teens. In 1955, he was taken on as a photographer's assistant by Life magazine to help cover the Miss America pageant. He got his break when he became a studio photographer for Columbia Pictures in Hollywood.

"I didn't want to photograph the glamour end of it," he said later. "It was the behind the scenes thing -- that part of Hollywood that nobody thinks about or looks at."

Accordingly, he often simply drove around Hollywood with his camera in search of unusual images.

At Columbia, Feinstein worked with stars such as Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Charlton Heston and Jayne Mansfield, and became a close friend of Steve McQueen (he was the on-set photographer for McQueen's most famous film, Bullitt). When Marilyn Monroe died, he photographed the pill bottle found at her bedside.

Feinstein also photographed political figures, such as presidents Kennedy and Nixon, and his work appeared in Look, TIME, Esquire and Newsweek.

In 1974, he covered Dylan's tour of the US with The Band. But as time went on, Feinstein gradually withdrew from the music scene. Always more interested in the informal, offstage image than in recording a performance, he explained: "Some of the people I love to photograph, they don't give you any time any more. They just get on the stage and sing as well as they can, then they get applause, they walk offstage, hand their guitar to somebody, get in the bus -- and by the time you get out of the men's room, they're 20 miles away."

In 1993, when he was caught up in a road accident with a drunk driver, Feinstein suffered injuries that made it difficult for him to operate his camera.

In 2008, he published a book, Hollywood Foto-Rhetoric: The Lost Manuscript, which features 23 of his early Hollywood pictures alongside a series of prose poems written in 1964 by Dylan. The poems had been inspired by the photographs, but Dylan had forgotten all about them.

Also in 2008, Feinstein brought out Real Moments, a selection of pictures from Dylan's tour of Britain and Europe in 1966, plus a few from the American tour of 1974. His work is also featured in the recently released Scorsese documentary about George Harrison, Living In The Material World.

Barry Feinstein, who lived at Woodstock in New York state, was thrice married. With Mary Travers -- of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary -- he had a daughter; and with the actress Carol Wayne he had a son. He had been with his third wife, Judith Jamison, since 1976, although they did not marry until 2000. He also had three stepchildren.

Sunday Independent

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