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Did Bob Dylan Plagiarize A Painting?

By: Renee Grant

A UK photographer is claiming that Bob Dylan recreated a photograph he took, and has added it to his traveling collection of art depicting scenes of Americana.

The photographer, who blogs under the name Diamond Geezer, took a picture on a pier in Blackpool back in 2009 and posted it to his Flickr account. That photo is eerily similar to the painting that Dylan claims is of an American landscape, right down to a bird perched atop a light pole in the photo.

While the lighting in the photo and painting differ, the perspective and subject matter in the two seem identical. Dylan claims the scene depicts a pier in Norfolk, Virginia but the photographer finds that the pier it is claimed to be, looks nothing like the one shown in the painting.

Complicating things, the exhibition, which debuted at Halcyon Gallery in Mayfair last year, featured a second painting featuring the same scene, this time with a couple kissing in the foreground. A pencil sketch of the pier was also included in the exhibition. While the painting is titled Norfolk, Virginia Pier 2015-16, the original photo was taken in 2009.

Dylan has spoken about his use of photographic methods in his painting, so it’s possible that he found this picture and used it as a reference.

While Geezer says he isn’t angry about the use of his photo by the Nobel Prize winner, he is shocked by it.

“And how do I feel about the appropriation of my photograph? I’m not angry. It’s not like the Daily Mail or Guido Fawkes pinched it, neither is it in my nature to expect massive compensation. 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 says.

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