Don Hunstein, ‘Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ Photographer, Dead at 88
Don Hunstein, the photographer who captured the iconic image of Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo that adorns the singer’s Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, died March 18th in Manhattan at the age of 88.
Hunstein’s wife Dee Anne Hunstein confirmed her husband’s death to the New York Times, adding that the photographer died following a battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
As an in-house photographer for Columbia Records in the Fifties and Sixties, Hunstein shot the striking images that feature on the covers of albums like Miles Davis’ Nefertiti, Thelonious Monk’s Monk’s Dream, Blood, Sweat & Tears’ Mirror Image and Dylan’s 1962 self-titled solo LP.
However, Hunstein will be best remembered for his Freewheelin’ image, featuring Dylan and his then-girlfriend Rotolo trudging down a West Village street on a freezing February day in 1963.
Hunstein had initially photographed Dylan and Rotolo inside their apartment, but unsatisfied with the results, opted to move the shoot outdoors despite the cold weather.
“We went down to Dylan’s place on Fourth Street, just off Sixth Avenue, right in the heart of the Village. It was winter, dirty snow on the ground,” Hunstein once recalled in an interview with Dylan fan publication The Telegraph.
“Well, I can’t tell you why I did it, but I said, ‘Just walk up and down the street.’ There wasn’t very much thought to it. It was late afternoon – you can tell that the sun was low behind them. It must have been pretty uncomfortable, out there in the slush.”
Decades later, Dylan would use a photo Hunstein took of Times Square in the Sixties as the original front cover of his autobiography Chronicles: Volume One, the New York Times notes.
In addition to his album covers, Hunstein photographed artists ranging from Barbra Streisand and Janis Joplin to Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin. In 2009, Hunstein’s work was shown alongside other rock photography giants in the exhibit Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present.