Author of the book The Band Photographs 1968-1968, Elliott Landy, was interviewed by Best Classic Bands. He spoke with Greg Brodsky about how the book came to be and more! Read a snippet of the interview below!
Fans of The Band – and if you’re reading this, we’re obviously preaching to the choir – will absolutely love their new album. That’s photograph album. Elliott Landy: The Band Photographs 1968-1969 is a stunning new collection from the man who chronicled the highly influential rock group with over 12,000 images. The book features hundreds of pictures including many never-before-published.
For a few years, beginning in the late Sixties, Landy photographed many of the biggest names in what is now referred to as classic rock. His images of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and, of course, The Band, are featured on their album covers and his work has appeared on the covers of numerous magazines from Rolling Stone to Life to Saturday Evening Post. He was the official photographer at what is simply known as the Woodstock music festival. Clapton. Hendrix. Baez. The Who. Morrison. Joplin. In the late Sixties, Landy photographed them and more.
And then he simply stopped doing rock photography. More on that later.
In the book, Landy explains how he first shot The Band in 1968 and how his relationship with them began. “I was just starting my career and I wanted to see the Woody Guthrie Memorial Concert at Carnegie Hall. They were Bob Dylan’s band and I wanted to take some pictures that I could sell.” He obtained two press tickets “but when I got to Carnegie Hall, there were signs posted stating ‘No Photographs Allowed.’”
He checked his larger equipment and “started snapping away, clicking my shutter only during the loud passages in order to be as discreet as possible.” As he was about to be caught, he rewound the film, hid it, and reloaded his camera with a new roll. At the behest of Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, security unwittingly took the unused roll and Landy kept the one that contained the images.
Despite the rough start with Dylan’s camp, Grossman had seen Landy’s photos of another one of his clients – Janis Joplin – and, trusting his instincts, offered Landy an assignment to “take some pictures in Toronto.”
“Of who,” he asked.
“They don’t have a name yet,” was the reply.
He and the members of The Band, er, clicked and periodically during the next two years, Landy shot them in a variety of settings. “On Easter weekend, 1968, I went up to Woodstock to photograph them,” he writes. “They were living in a house they jokingly called ‘Big Pink’ (as a humorous reference to how out of place it looked in the woods).”