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  Field Notes From
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On Assignment
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From Author
Sean Elder



On Assignment
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From Photographer
Catherine Karnow



In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Lawrence Lucier, and David Dunai
 

On Assignment On Assignment On Assignment
ZipUSA: 55746

Field Notes From Photographer Catherine Karnow
Best Worst Quirkiest

One day after school I hung out with Taylor, the 11-year-old boy who lives in Bob Dylan’s childhood home. I asked him and his friends what they like to do, and they responded, “Well, we play with yo-yos.” So I photographed them doing that for a while, and then finally stopped to ask them if they had other hobbies. That’s when they mentioned music videos. And then, very businesslike, they grabbed their “instruments.” Taylor used part of a bookshelf as a guitar, while his friends played drums or did a chicken-like dance to bands like Eminem, Lincoln Park, and Paper Cut. I chuckled to myself the whole time. Not only did we have a great time, but I knew that this scene in Bob Dylan’s old bedroom captured the heart of the story. I was struck, too, by the uncanny resemblance between Taylor and Dylan. Taylor was kind of shy and quiet, until he started playing. Then he came alive and ran the show.



The high school auditorium where Bob Dylan first performed in public was so large and dimly lit that I was having a hard time figuring out how to shoot with one flash and a 35-mm camera. So, thinking that maybe I had finally found an interesting angle, I set up my tripod in the down-sloping aisle. But then I accidentally gave it a little jiggle. It went crashing forward, smashing my 2,000-dollar lens.



After a couple of days in Hibbing, I went over to the Greyhound Bus Museum to meet Geno Nicolelli, the founder and director. Geno, a former supermarket manager, had never worked for Greyhound. But he decided after retiring that his calling was to build a museum to honor the birthplace of the bus line. He was also crazy about vintage Greyhound buses, small toy ones as well as the real thing. After museum hours, he showed them to writer Sean Elder and me. He told us that when the kids come around, he puts on an old bus conductor uniform. So I said, “Geno, you’ve got to show me what you look like in that uniform.” He went to the back and returned a few minutes later wearing knickers that bunched at the bottom, a jacket that cinched at the waist, and a dapper hat. Suddenly I felt like I had been transported back to the early 1950s.





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