Eyes of the World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965 – 1995 is a fine art, hardcover coffee table photography book that brings together, for the first time, a comprehensive collection of photographs from a wide range of photographers whose work has captured the Grateful Dead at different times throughout their career.
Co-Edited by former Relix editor-in-chief Josh Baron and famed rock photographer Jay Blakesberg, Eyes of the World will be released October 23, 2017 via Rock Out Books and is available for pre-order now at eyesoftheworldbook.com and at most other book retailers.
Shocking as it may seem—particularly given the unparalleled job the band’s shepherds did in documenting its history—until now there has been no definitive visual reference encompassing the 30 year career of the Grateful Dead.
“What we also realized in assessing this book project,” explains Baron, “is that even for those images that fans had seen before, the vast majority had only seen them on a computer screen. Most people—including Jay and I —had never seen the majority of these images printed in large format.”
Over the course of six months of research, Baron and Blakesberg reached out to more than 100 individual photographers (or in some cases, their representatives) to see if they’d be willing to submit their images for review. After much deliberation, countless conversations and 32 versions of the eventual layout, they landed on 220 images captured by 61 photographers across 272 pages that would become Eyes of the World, the book.
Photographers featured in Eyes of the World include such legendary names as Annie Leibovitz, Jim Marshall, David Gahr, Mark Seliger, Herb Greene, William Coupon, Michael O’Neill, Adrian Boot, Michael Putland, Peter Simon, Baron Wolman and, of course, Jay Blakesberg. Included in the collection are iconic images, lesser known photos, and never-seen before seen images – each of them a singular perspective of a poignant moment that together help tell the Grateful Dead’s epic tale through large, bold imagery.
“There were quite a few of us photographers fortunate to have had the opportunity to help document the Grateful Dead,” Blakesberg says. “But no single photographic perspective can tell this band’s full story. For many years, I have thought a book that considered the archives of numerous photographers - Jim Marshall, Herb Greene, myself, and others - would be the ultimate photography book on this band. It was Josh who went above and beyond, seeking out the rare and unseen archives that truly makes this a unique collection. I’m very happy to see this book come to life.”
Each of the images included on the pages of Eyes of the World were originally shot on film. Many of them have been reproduced for the first time via high-resolution scan, allowing them to be viewed anew. Unfettered in presentation, each photograph holds relevance and weight, many of them taking up a full page or more.
As renowned musician and photographer Graham Nash writes in the book’s forward, “It’s obvious that the authors of these photographs were great fans and also that they had a unique perspective. They were ‘trusted.’ Trusted so much that it’s certain that the band were completely comfortable in revealing the many faces of themselves.” Graham continues, “It’s moments like these that photographers live for: the ability to be invisible so that no one knows you’re there. That’s when the good shots happen and that’s when I realize how lucky the band was to have such talented witnesses to their journey.”
As the band’s own Phil Lesh notes, “These photographs really capture the spirit of the Grateful Dead’s 30-year adventure.”
Whether a Grateful Dead veteran who caught them in the heady days of the late-‘60s in San Francisco, or a millennial who made it to Chicago for Fare The Well in 2015, Eyes of the World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965 – 1995 provides fans of all ages and stages the opportunity to see this band in a way they never have before.
Upcoming book signings, with more to be announced soon:
New York: Morrison Hotel Gallery, Saturday, 10/28, 1-5pm
Bay Area: Terrapin Crossroads, Thursday, 11/30, night time