Janis: Little Girl Blue is a documentary directed by Amy Berg about Janis Joplin. It’s a story with which you’re already familiar, and a subject that might too easily appeal to those harbouring a lurid interest in drug-fuelled sexual excesses or a tie-dyed nostalgia for the sixties. Berg, though, avoids sensationalism or pathos (except perhaps in the title), and her film features few of those music biz talking heads, familiar from Friday evening BBC 4 music documentaries, blathering on about how so-and-so was such a wonderful person who single-handedly changed the course of modern music. Continue reading “Janis: Little Girl Blue: break another little bit of my heart”
The American photographer Barry Feinstein, who has died aged 80, made his most famous series of images when he accompanied Bob Dylan and the Band on their controversial tour of Britain in 1966. The photos from that tour that I love best are of Dylan posing with a bunch of ragged children on the north docks in Liverpool
Today’s obituary in The Guardian notes that:
On stage, Dylan was aloof to the point of imperious, a dandy in shades and a sharp suit, willing his new electric music on disgruntled audiences who wanted the familiar folk singer they knew and revered. When Feinstein’s fly-on-the-wall photographs of the tour finally appeared in his book Real Moments, published in 2008, Dylan emerged as an even more complex figure. Often he looks gaunt and fragile, his eyes hidden behind ever-present shades, his body hunched against the cold British winds and the imploring eyes of his faithful. One such image of Dylan waiting for the Aust ferry to take him across the Severn was used as the poster for No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese’s epic 2005 documentary on Dylan.
That is undoubtedly an iconic image, but the Feinstein photos from that tour that I love best are those of Dylan posing with a bunch of ragged children in Dublin Street, close to the Dock Road on the north docks in Liverpool, with derelict warehouses forming the backdrop.
40 years later, Chris Hockenhall, a Dylan enthusiast from Merseyside, tracked down the children for a BBC North West documentary – discussed in more detail in this post.
Feinstein also shot the cover photograph for Dylan’s album The Times They Are A-Changin’, and during the course of his career produced more than 500 albums covers, among them Janis Joplin’s Pearl (a photo taken on the day before she died).
- Barry Feinstein album covers: Back Page Magazine
- Barry Feinstein: photography website
- Obituary: Guardian