by Peter Aaron
Photographer Elliot Landy is well known for his iconic images of musicians who called Woodstock their home during the heady days of the 1960s and ’70s. In addition to taking some famous photos of Bob Dylan (1969’s Nashville Skyline), Landy shot The Band for the covers of 1968’s Music from Big Pink and 1969’s The Band. Currently, Landy is running a Kickstarter campaign to produce a fine art book of his pictures of the latter act.
“During that period [1968-1969] I was the only photographer they let take pictures of them,” Landy says. “They treated me like a friend and allowed me the freedom to hang out and take whatever pictures I wanted to. Looking back, I wish I had shot more, but my laid-back style was what allowed me to be close with them. I never interfered with what was going on, never asked them to do anything just for the camera.”
“I shot over 8000 frames of film,” he continues. “Of these, only about 30 have been widely published. The photos have been in my studio for over 40 years, taking up prime space on the shelves and in my fire-proof file cabinet. I am still in love with them. I feel it’s my best body of work from the ’60s and each time I peruse the unseen contact sheets, proof prints, and slides I find at least one new gem and think, ‘I am going to make a book of all this some day.’ Well, now is the moment. I am 71, still feeling 20, but recognizing that time will catch my body and spirit soon enough and that with crowd-sourcing support I will be able, finally, to make the book I want to make. I am gathering the best of it to make into a finely printed book so that the experiences I had while hanging out with them will be passed on. The photographs of Garth Hudson, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, and Robbie Robertson show their camaraderie, their love of life and music. It will visually define who they were for the generations to come—brothers creating two of the greatest albums in the history of music.”
Here, the photographer talks about the project:
For more information on Landy’s Kickstarter campaign, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1238043057/elliott-landys-photographs-of-the-bandthe-book