Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Larry Keenan 1943-2012

I just read that Larry Keenan died on August 12th. Keenan was the photographer who took the iconic picture of Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Michael McClure and Allen Ginsburg in the alley behind the City Lights Books Store on Dec 5, 1965.

There is a great story behind the session. Keenan was a 22 year old art student who got a call from McClure to shoot a portrait of Bob Dylan for his soon to be released album Blonde on Blonde. Dylan was in San Fransisco playing his first tour with an band behind him.

 Although none of Keenan's shots ultimately made the album, he did capture a wonderful moment in time that day. Jim Marshall, another famous rock and roll photographer, was there as well, but Keenan came away with the best images.

In 2001, I found Keenan's information on the Internet and gave him a call. I was interested in adding one of his prints from that day to my rock and roll photo collection. He was very friendly on the phone and mentioned that he had a shot that included Robbie that had never been published. The most reproduced photo from the session is this one which crops Robbie out on the left side:

The one of a kind photograph which includes Robbie hangs in my man cave today. It is one of my favorite rock and roll images.