In 1965 Allen arranged for and fellow student photographer Dale Smith to photograph him and Michael McClure and Robbie Robertson and Bob Dylan in the alleyway behind City Lights Bookstore (originally for possible use on the Blonde on Blonde album cover). The images were never used (tho’ some have turned up in subsequent Dylan projects).
As Keenan, on the Empty Mirror website, recalls:
“This session was arranged the night before at a party after Bob Dylan’s concert at the Berkeley Community Theater. Allen Ginsberg introduced me to Dylan and we arranged to do a photo session…the same day as the Beats’ last gathering at City Lights Books. At City Lights we hid out in the basement with Dylan and when the people started to break the door down we climbed out a window and ran down the alley and took these photographs. I was in college and living at home during the Beat period. I had to mow the lawn before I could borrow the car and go to San Francisco to shoot this…event”.
Dale Smith‘s images of this occasion he’s fancifully titled. One of them features a “lost soul” (or, half a lost soul!), Julius Orlovsky, distancing himself from the four-some – Julius and the Spirits – (everybody get the Fellini pun?):
Here’s more of Dale’s images – Smoking Poets (Allen would, of course, later, actively inveigh against such behavior in his “Put Down Your Cigarette Rag”):
And here, just the three of them, sans Robbie Robertson, Alley Cats (sic), the three poets:
Also on hand to record this occasion was the pre-eminent rock photographer, Jim Marshall.
Here’s one of his images:
Turning to another occasion. Ken Regan was the official Rolling Thunder photographer. It was Ken who shot this extraordinary picture of Allen and Bob in Lowell at Jack Kerouac’s grave:
Ken’s remarkable Rolling Thunder work is currently on exhibit at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York (it is also available in a limited edition portfolio (a mere 350 copies, signed and numbered by the photographer, and available from the gallery). Here’s some other classic Regan shots
Here’s another shot from that time (from Gerard Malanga) – taken in Allen’s apartment in New York, just a few weeks prior to the beginning of the tour
and here’s two classic Elsa Dorfman images