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Daniel Kramer recalls the first time he saw Bob Dylan: As Kramer recalls the moment, he was at a friend's apartment and watching Dylan on a TV show.

The young folk artist's guitar strumming and song lyrics instantly caught his attention.

"I was amazed, because what he was singing about was what people don't say in public," Kramer said. "He was singing 'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.'"

The song is about a white man named William Zantzinger, who killed an African-American barmaid, Hattie Carroll, when he struck her with his cane in 1963 at a charity ball in Baltimore. Zantzinger received only six months in jail for the crime.

"The way he described it and the language, I felt he was a poet," Kramer said.

When the performance ended, the photographer asked his friend who the musician was.

"I thought I would like to photograph him and make a portrait for my portfolio of interesting people," Kramer said.

He would go on to do much more.

Years later, an exhibit, "Bob Dylan: Photographs by Daniel Kramer," curated by the Grammy Museum, will be on display in Oregon State University's Fairbanks Gallery Oct. 26 through Nov. 30. The exhibit showcases more than three dozen photos Kramer took of the iconic, Nobel Prize-winning singer-songwriter for a year and a day during 1964 and 1965.

A reception and talk by Kramer on Nov. 1 will accompany the exhibit. Bob Santelli, OSU director of Popular Music and Performing Arts and founding Grammy Museum executive director, will host a question-and-answer session with Kramer.

Kramer, a native of Brooklyn, had just opened his own studio in 1964 in New York City. He said he mostly photographed people for book covers and magazines at the time he took an interest in working with Dylan.

Kramer called Dylan's management company and was told the folk artist wasn't available for photographs.

That didn't end Kramer's pursuit.

"So, I called on a daily basis. I eventually, after six months, got arrangements for one hour to photograph him in Woodstock at his manager's house," Kramer said.

One hour became five hours, and they spent most of the afternoon together taking pictures, he said.

This included a photo of Dylan playing chess with his road manager, Victor Maymudes, at a Woodstock cafe.

A couple of weeks later, Dylan and his manager, Albert Grossman, met with Kramer to look over the photos. As the pictures were spread across a conference table, Dylan asked the photographer if he wanted to join him the following week at his concert in Philadelphia.

"A photographer is supposed to say yes. It's very important," Kramer said. "It's the third piece of equipment you need to be photographer. You need a camera, a telephone, and you need to say yes."

Dylan picked up Kramer at home in his station wagon, and they got to know each other on the two-and-a-half-hour drive, he said.

Kramer said he didn't start with a plan.

"I did a lot of pictures along the way, of different performances," he said.

Luckily, there was always something to photograph with Dylan, and they both contributed ideas.

"He asked me to do his album cover 'Bringing It All Back Home,' which I did. He asked me to do 'Highway 61,' which I did," Kramer said.

Dylan allowed him to shoot everything.

"We didn't have any rules," he said. "As long as there was something more to add to a shoot that I didn't have yet."

This included other writers and fellow musicians who came around Dylan, like Johnny Cash and Joan Baez.

"Joan Baez entered the situation, and they did a series of concerts together. Well, I wasn't going to miss that, so I shot that," Kramer said. "We did a week in New York, Buffalo, Connecticut, which made for a whole new kind of picture."

The photo shoots were expanding, and that time era marked a major change for Dylan, Kramer said.

"I got interested and realized at his first recording session for 'Bringing It All Back Home' he played electric instruments, and they put a band together," Kramer said. "I'd never heard him with a band before, because at other concerts he was just alone with his guitar."

Dylan was transitioning from a single musician folk singer to a rock musician, especially recording the "Highway 61 Revisited" album, which included "Like a Rolling Stone." 

Kramer got together with Dylan about 30 times for photo shoots for that year and a day between Aug. 27, 1964, and Aug. 28, 1965, he said.

"I call it the Big Bang Year, because it's the year he became a supernova," he added.

In 1967, Kramer published a book, "Bob Dylan," about his time photographing Dylan. From that idea he set aside 50 or 60 of his pictures and created a collection for a gallery show that told more of Dylan's story, he said.

"When I first started showing the pictures, people didn't know a lot about Bob Dylan. Now everyone has seen a performance or books about him," Kramer said.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wanted to put it in their museum and that's how his photo exhibition started, he said.

The exhibit since has been shown or collected by galleries and museums nationwide.

The photographer said he published another book in 2016 called "Bob Dylan: A Year and a Day." It tells their story from when they met to Kramer's last day shooting Dylan at his concert at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in New York, for which Dylan assembled a new band.

Kramer said he looks forward to the question-and-answer sessions involved with the exhibition, because he gets different questions every time.

"I think that's as interesting as the pictures," Kramer said. "To get other peoples' opinions and ideas, and see how they're affected or not affected. It's a give and take."


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