Monday 13 January 2014

Elliott Landy's Band photobook includes infrared shots

You may recall photographer Elliott Landy and the iconic colour infrared photograph of his, showing Bob Dylan, that was included in the Infrared 100 exhibition.

Elliott has a distinguished portfolio of music-related material and has recently decided to pull together the best shots he took of The Band to produce a fine art photo book that he is funding via KickStarter. Actually I should say 'has funded' as he finally raised $193,626.

I was a much younger person when I shelled out pocket money for a copy of Rag Mama Rag by the Band. They were Canadians who famously accompanied Dylan on the Basement Tapes and then became a key recording act in their own right. Their roots approach to music was matched by their image, and this was captured by Landy on over eight thousand frames of film. Only about 30 ever got widely published, some as album covers and posters, and he considers this his best body of work. His relationship with the band is rare for a photographer. The only other notable long-term collaboration I can recall is U2 and Anton Corbijn.

The music occupied a hinterland between rock, country and folk; bringing an acoustic sound that became synonymous with Woodstock in up-state New York. For such a small place it has managed to carve a deep furrow in American musical history, and Vanity Fair calls Landy "the ultimate keeper of the Woodstock flame".

This photo of Levon Helm is one of the infrared shots (Kodak E4 stock in this case) which are included in the set. As with the Dylan shot, Landy didn't use infrared to exploit its characteristics (something I'm often guilty of) but more for what it could bring to the image.

This is the KickStarter page ... now reached its target ... and this is Elliott Landy's own web site, which you can explore for more of his images.

[Amended 30 Jan 2014 to give final Kickstarter figure.]