LOCALObituaries

Barry Feinstein dies at 80; rock music photographer

Arts and CultureEntertainmentMusicArtPhotographyArtistsBob Dylan

Barry Feinstein, a photographer who gained renown as one of the premier chroniclers of the 1960s and '70s music scene, including shooting iconic album covers for Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and George Harrison, has died. He was 80.

Feinstein, a longtime resident of Woodstock, N.Y., who had been in failing health the last 10 years, died Thursday at a hospital in Kingston, N.Y., said his wife, Judith Jamison Feinstein.

In an award-winning career that began in the 1950s and included shooting many of Hollywood's biggest stars, Feinstein had photos published in Life, Look, Time, Esquire, Newsweek and other magazines.

He photographed more than 500 album covers, including Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'," Joplin's "Pearl," Harrison's "All Things Must Pass," the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," Dave Mason's "Alone Together" and Eric Clapton's debut solo album "Eric Clapton."

"I'd put Barry in the top five of all-time rock photographers," said Peter Blachley, owner of the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York City, which represents Feinstein's photography.

Feinstein's success was due not only to the way he composed his shots and his other skills as a photographer, Blachley said, but "the way he was able to get the access to deliver those shots. And that access is gained by his personality with artists.

"They loved working with Barry, and that makes a great music photographer."

When he shot the cover for George Harrison's 1970 "All Things Must Pass" album, Feinstein recalled in a 2002 interview with the Washington Times, he photographed for days outside the singer's home at Friar Park in Henley-on-Thames, England.

"Then, someone called [Harrison] and told him that the gnomes that were stolen from Friar Park in about 1871 could be bought back. They asked him if he wanted to buy them back. He said, 'Sure.' They brought them back and laid them on the lawn. We went out and looked at them. I said, 'There's the cover.'

"We didn't move a thing. In about two minutes, we had the cover. It was spontaneous."

Harrison later asked Feinstein to document the historic fundraising Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in 1971.

Feinstein was best known for his long association with Dylan, for whom he was the official photographer on the European portion of Dylan's 1966 world tour and the 1974 Dylan and The Band tour.

One of Feinstein's famous Dylan photos, taken in London in 1966, shows the singer in the back of a limousine smoking a cigarette and gazing straight ahead through dark sunglasses, seemingly oblivious to the fans' faces pressed against the closed window.

A collection of his Dylan photos appear in Feinstein's 2008 book "Real Moments: Bob Dylan."

"I wanted my pictures to say something," Feinstein wrote. "I don't really like stand-up portraits; there's nothing there, no life, no feeling. I was much more interested in capturing real moments."

"Hollywood Foto-Rhetoric: The Lost Manuscript," a collection of Feinstein's early Hollywood photos and poems Dylan had written in 1964 to accompany them, also was published in 2008.

"If he wasn't a photographer but was a writer, he would have been very much like Paddy Chayefsky," Blachley said. "He had a very interesting way of looking at the world around him."

One of Feinstein's Hollywood photographs, he said, is of a movie studio parking lot "and there's a big sign in front that says 'Talent Lot,' and it's empty; there's nothing in it."

Feinstein was born Feb. 4, 1931, in Philadelphia. He spent a year at the University of Miami and had a stint in the Coast Guard before launching his career in photography. After arriving in Hollywood, he became a studio photographer for Columbia Pictures.

Feinstein, who was a cameraman on the classic 1968 documentary "Monterey Pop," also was the director-cameraman on the 1968 music documentary "You Are What You Eat."

A close friend of actor Steve McQueen, he also shot stills during the production of McQueen's 1968 classic film "Bullitt."

Noting that her husband had a photography and design studio in Los Angeles for many years, Judith Jamison Feinstein said: "Steve McQueen would pick him up every day at 4 o'clock when he was done with business and off they'd go motorcycling through the Hollywood Hills."

Feinstein was previously married and divorced from singer Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary, with whom he had a daughter, Alicia; and to actress Carol Wayne, with whom he had a son, Alex.

In addition to his wife and two children, he is survived by three stepchildren, Erica Marshall and Jasper and Jake Jamison; and three grandchildren.

dennis.mclellan@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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