Again our apologies for a rather quiet spell at Easy On The Eye Books, with yet more illness affecting senior staff. I guess the clue is in the word senior! As a result we’ve rejigged plans a little, and our next planned release now we’re running with the baton again will be the fabulous blues photograph book. This is not far from final proofing, but got held up again when photographer Brian Smith found yet more negatives while clearing out his garage a while ago. We have now scanned and cleaned this new batch of material and are sorting through, as some of the photographs deserve to go in the book. Brian had a few old prints of some of these but naturally we’ll be able to get much better reproduction from the negatives. Here is one of the new found frames (BEFORE being cleaned!), which was actually taken by one of Brian’s friends, and shows him with Bo Diddley backstage at (I think) the Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester. Bo is holding his trademark Gretsch ‘Jupiter Thunderbird’.
We have added a Flipbook preview of Boom Boom, The Blues Photographs of Brian Smith. This can be flicked through at :
It gives an idea of how the final book looks, although there may be text changes before this goes to press.
The book of Brian Smith’s fabulous Sixties Blues photographs – Boom Boom Boom Boom – is pushing along nicely, albeit a little behind schedule! But we’re pleased to be able to show the first page visuals at last. Brian has also had some of his photographs selected for a really interesting new documentary on some of the Blues sidemen who perhaps never got the recognition of some of their peers. Titled Sidemen : The Long Road To Glory, you can see an exclusive trailer for the project at the producer’s official Vimeo site. Universal have also requested a dozen of his images for an upcoming Chess blues box set. If you haven’t yet checked the book out, you can read the full details on the site.
Happy to say the job of scanning Brian Smith’s negatives for the Boom Boom Blues photo book is at last complete. Brian has had most of his images scanned in the past but generally by high-street operators who didn’t really appreciate what they were doing. During work on the book, Brian collected together ALL his surviving negatives. We decided rather than just scan those earmarked for the book, we would do the LOT, and then they would be saved for posterity. The job was done in-house using a high-end Nikon negative scanner. Amazingly Nikon stopped making this expensive bit of kit a few years ago (apparently all the professionals who needed one had bought it, and sales stalled after that. We were lucky to get ours off a studio who had finished doing their own archives), and had stopped supporting the software for it even before that. For this reason the machine has to be hooked up to a vintage Macintosh which can still run this old software and is now being kept largely just for this task. Normally you pop in a strip of negatives, and leave it to work away. But Brian’s negatives were all done individually because of the poor light levels he had to work with back in the early Sixties which left some real underexposure problems on some. In a couple of cases really difficult negatives have been scanned twice at differing settings so we can combine elements. All this has taken a lot longer than anticipated and delayed the launch, but we can now crack on and finish the layout. And return the precious originals to Brian of course!
You can read more about the book, and sign up for newsletters, on the site. The really atmospheric photo above was taken by Brian of Willie Dixon during a show at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. The bit of kit on the left is the hulking great ABC TV camera. Copyright Brian Smith / Easy On The Eye Books
An early heads up on a work in progress, this visually fascinating collection of rare blues photographs taken in Manchester and area in the early sixties, capturing many visiting American Blues giants on stage and in more candid moments. Boom Boom Boom Boom is due later in 2014, and you can read more on the site.