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The Museum at Bethel Woods opens exhibition of the unseen archive of Columbia Records
Stevie Ray Vaughan publicity shot, later used on the Discover: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble series. The Museum at Bethel Woods, © Don Hunstein.
BETHEL, NY.- On Thursday, August 29 the Museum at Bethel Woods opened its second special exhibit of the year, Keeping Time: The Photography of Don Hunstein – The Unseen Archive of Columbia Records, on display through December 31.

The exhibit highlights the 30-year career of Don Hunstein as in-house photographer at Columbia Records in New York City from the 1950s through the 1970s. During that time, Hunstein photographed thousands of rehearsals, recording sessions, and candid moments of some of the era’s most important musicians and singers. His position at Columbia Records gave him unique access to Dylan, Miles Davis, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Simon & Garfunkel, and countless others, and his photographs capture the true spirit of the performers and their time.

When Hunstein arrived in New York City in 1954, Columbia Records was growing, and they wanted to create an in-house photo department to handle promotional photography, album artwork, and business photography. They hired Hunstein, and he kept the position until Columbia dismantled the in-house studio in 1986. Through the first half of the 20th century, Columbia Records was well known for its recordings of classical and other symphonic music, jazz, and popular music, resisting the trend toward rock ’n’ roll. That changed when a young folk singer on the label, Bob Dylan, made the shocking move to electrify his music, which initiated their shift toward rock ‘n’ roll.

Museum Director Wade Lawrence explains, “Don’s stunning photographs document American popular music through its most fertile era, and The Museum at Bethel Woods is honored to be the premier venue for this beautiful and evocative exhibition.”

Keeping Time: The Photography of Don Hunstein is presented in collaboration with Hunstein Artist Services and Insight Editions, whose book on Don Hunstein’s Columbia Records photographs will be published this fall.

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