“Although he was polite and friendly, Bob didn’t seem to have much enthusiasm for a photo session. After we exchanged some wordsof greeting, I explained that I came to make his portrait. That I hoped to make a visual statement to complement the feeling I had when I heard him sing “Hattie Carrol.” As we spoke, he shuffled his feet and bobbed his head up and down somewhat impatiently, as though preoccupied. He told me he would be about the house and I should feel free to photograph him. He was not very enthusiastic about my plan for just a portrait, preferring to do the things he normally would be doing. People are usually eager to place themselves at the disposal of the photographer in order to make the picturesas effective as possible.They want to know how they can be helpful, asking where the photographer would like to work or what they should wear. They are willing to construct artificial situations. Bob Dylan did not offer any of this”
Leonard Cohen, who died this week, was one of our greatest songwriters—Bob Dylan told Cohen that he considered him his nearest rival—and is a figure of almost cult-like devotion among fans. He gave one of his final interviews to David Remnick over the summer. Listen to it now.