Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Elliott Landy: The Band Photographs 1968-1969

Author: Elliott Landy
ISBN: 9781495022517
Format: Hardback 12" by 12"
160 pages

Once in a while a photographer gains the trust of an artist or a band, and his work fuses with that of the artist in such a way that the two become married in the public consciousness. One can think of David Duncan's pictures of Picasso at work or Alfred Wertheimer's pictures of Elvis backstage in 1956. Elliott Landy's chronicle of The Band from 1968-1969 is of similar importance. He was trusted so deeply that this group of photographs is as intimate a portrait of a group of musicians inventing a new music as you are ever likely to come across.

Today we call that music “Americana,” and it is played all over the world. But in 1968, when Elliott first started taking these pictures, it was played by six musicians in the town of Woodstock, New York – Bob Dylan and a group called The Hawks. They later changed their name to The Band. They had been The Hawks for five years when Bob Dylan pulled them out of Tony Mart's dive bar on the Jersey Shore to be his band.

This incredible book catalogues the end and beginning of an era. A time when acid-rock was pushed aside and an amalgam of folk, country, soul and blues inspired everyone from The Beatles and Stones to Fairport Convention and Eric Clapton. It wasn't only the music, The Band went back to the country and donned clothes that turned their back on the garish tone of psychedelia. Landy's photos capture that precise moment of change.

This book is not only an essential addition for Dylan and Band fans it is also a cultural statement reflecting the end of the 1960s.

"In a sense, these pictures are the photographic analogue of The Band's song 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' – harkening back to the formal portraiture of Matthew Brady and other late 19th Century photographers. But these pictures are honest and true. They live in the photographic tradition of Robert Frank's The Americans. Elliott's are a record of a wonderfully creative period in America that won't come again."

– Jonathan Taplin,
USC professor and Tour Manager for The Band, 1969-1972

No comments:

Post a Comment