In November 1961, Bob Dylan was just 20 years old, a young folksinger on the cusp of fame. His first paid performances, at Gerde’s Folk City in New York’s Greenwich Village, were starting to attract interest.
His first review had just come out, a surprising rave in the New York Times, which said, “Mr. Dylan is both a comedian and a tragedian.”
Meanwhile, Ted Russell was a photojournalist working regularly for Life magazine in New York when an RCA Records publicist hired him to photograph the label’s latest discovery, Ann-Margret.
Shortly afterward, the publicist moved to Columbia Records and invited Russell to take some pictures of its new hire, Bob Dylan. Russell liked the idea, thinking a story on an up-and-coming Village folk singer could interest Life.
His intimate portraits of Dylan performing and of his first New York apartment are the subject of the exhibition “Ted Russell: Bob Dylan NYC 1961-1964,” at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York. The show opens April 20 and runs through June 3.