Jay Blakesberg is a pretty well known photographer if you're into reading the small print of things. He shoots for magazine covers and CDs and has worked with Santana, Tracy Chapman and Neil Young - to name but a few. However, his work is at its very, very best when he's shooting live portrait photography.
Live photography is notoriously difficult to do properly - as anyone who has ever tried to capture their favourite band live will know. Quite frankly, Blakesberg ought to be arrested for making it look so damned easy. Each shot he takes has that X factor which made Star Wars what it was - heart and soul. Without it, you just end up with The Phantom Menace.
Blakesberg is quite easily in the top five rock photographers in the world. Standing on the shoulders of giants is hard work I'm sure, so it must be quite a feeling to see your work collected like this. His work is always clean and does what it sets out to do - tell a story without saying a word.
For fans of the Grateful Dead, Between The Dark And Light is a must have book, delivering a second to none pictorial history of one of the most influential bands of our time. Somehow, the Dead seem to always transcend all boundaries of generation and continually add to their legion of devoted fans.
With every base covered, and added colour commentary where appropriate, this is nothing less than one of the best packaged books I have seen in a long time. Publishers Backbeat Books have even kept the cost down. I've witnessed far inferior products peddled around for twice this price.
Ultimately, if you're not a fan of the Grateful Dead but have an interest in photography, you could do a lot worse than to check out this book and see what you should be aspiring to. Of course if you are a Dead-Head, you don't need a reason - you just need to do it.
:: Sion Smith