In the process of creating my book The Band Photographs, 1968-1969, we selected about 600 images from over 12,000 I had taken of The Band. I made rough 8×11 in. paper proofs and from these, I chose the best 300 or so. We laid them out side by side in many different combinations to find the best pairs. My intention was to make the book primarily double page arrangements of photos, one image to a page—a photo gallery.
I found numerous combinations that looked great and realized that to see how they would actually look in a book—better on the left, paired with this picture or that one, etc., I had to print a double page Proof print which looked just like it would in a book. I used high quality semi-gloss paper, fine inks and fully adjusted scans in order to closely resemble a beautifully printed book. I made hi-res scans from the original negatives and slides and adjusted them as I would a fine art print.
Then I printed pairs of images, side by side on 22 – 24 inch wide paper as if they were printed in a double page spread of the book. I folded some of them along what would be the spine, held them all in my lap as if I were seated in an armchair reading the book—to simulate the way a reader would experience them.
I used the same printer and ink which I use for my Fine Art exhibition prints. The paper was archival but thinner than the paper I use for my Fine Art prints because I wanted it to be the same as the pages in the book (and I was not intentionally making prints to be exhibited as fine-art—they were proofs, supposed to be expendable.
Because I was not certain what size to make the book, in the beginning I made the same proof in several sizes, so I could see which size the book should be. I decided, for purely visual reasons, on 12 x 12 inches (without realizing that this is the size of an LP.) IN the process, I tried pages between 10 and 12 inches square. Therefore the double page proofs I made are between 20 and 24 inches wide and 11 – 13 inches high.
I printed about 450 of these double page Proof spreads. Many of the pictures in the Proofs do not appear in the book, even though they are really nice. (Every so often, I look at a few, pulled randomly from my stacks of “seconds” and wonder aloud, “Why didn’t I put this one in, why wasn’t that included?” But for this book, I chose the ones which fit the narrative flow necessary for a first book. It’s clear to me that there has to be at least a second volume as too many really good pictures were left out.
After the book was finished and I had some distance from the entire process, I realized how special the double page Proofs were. They are actually two fine art prints next to each other on the same sheet, selected for the visual harmony which the pair creates. Some of the photos did not make it into the book and most of the ones that did, did not wind up paired with the same images—in other words, there are unique visual experiences in this set.
Since they were printed on a high quality acid free paper with the best archival pigment inks from finely adjusted scans, I realized I had inadvertently created a very special set of prints. Friends who have seen them in the studio forbade me to sell them all, urging me to keep a set together for a large exhibition. So I have kept one full set—one of each Proof spread for an exhibition or sale as a group. But in addition to that master set, there are duplicate copies of some of them—printed in a slightly different size so I could see what size to make the book. Those are the ones which I am making available for sale – a group at a time. For the most part, there were only two proofs made of each other ones listed for sale, but there were three of a few.
To begin with all the proofs will be priced the same – $575 for a double spread. Some have more apparent handling marks than others, some have been folded down the middle. All are refundable and all in good condition.