Is Bob Dylan's painting taken from a photo of Blackpool's North Pier?
Despite the global superstar’s signed watercolour, which exhibited at The Halcyon Gallery in Mayfair, purportedly portraying a seafront feature in Norfolk, Virginia, the hobby snapper disputes this.
Speaking under the pseudonym Diamond Geezer, he said it’s actually North Pier, taken from exactly the same spot as his photograph six years ago – and the two images appear to be almost identical.
The London-based photographer said: “Bob Dylan’s painting isn’t of the USA, it’s of the North Pier in Blackpool, and it’s been constructed not from the artist’s perception but using a photograph I took.
“This is the actual Bob Dylan we’re talking about, the 2016 Nobel Laureate.”
The amateur photographer, who visited the resort for the airshow in 2009, was made aware of Dylan’s painting by Scott Warmuth in America, who has been looking into the star’s artwork.
But he insists he isn’t angry, just curious as to how his image, posted online, apparently became the musician’s source of inspiration.
“Neither is it in my nature to expect massive compensation,” he said.
“I’m not exhilarated. My photo’s been the basis of a minor painting by a major star, which is hardly life-changing, and I’m not the type to gush.”
He continued: “I’d be intrigued to know why he picked this image in the first place, whether he knew it was of Blackpool, and how it came to be attributed to a pier on the east coast of America.
“I was astonished, firstly that my photo had been used by such a famous musician, and secondly that it was in an exhibit under a title different to where it was really taken.
“The illumination’s different, but the alignment of the pier and lampposts is identical, as if the artist were standing precisely where I was standing six years earlier.”
The image formed part of The Beaten Path exhibition, which was held at The Halcyon Gallery until January 2.
Although Bob Dylan played three sell-out shows at the Winter Gardens in 2013, he made no mention of the resort in a foreword accompanying his range of ‘American’ landscapes. “The common theme of these works having something to do with the American landscape,” he wrote.
“In every picture the viewer doesn’t have to wonder whether it’s an actual object or a delusional one. If the viewer visited where the picture actually existed, he or she would see the same thing.”
The gallery’s website said the exhibit offered viewers the chance to ‘accompany Dylan on his travels as he criss-crosses the USA though the back streets, alleys, and country roads.’
A gallery spokesman said: “There is no attempt on behalf of the artist to name the scenes accurately. While the essence of the exhibition is a journey through America, the compositions of the paintings are based on a wide variety of sources including archival and historic images.”
Dylan, 75, is a hugely successful sing-songwriter as well as a published writer and artist. He has sold more than 100 million records.