One of the more distinctive rock bands of the '60s and '70s, the Band boasted a visual aesthetic every bit as striking as their music -- and now, a series of pictures taken by band photographer Elliott Landy for their first two albums is being collected into a book.

The images that ended up gracing 1968's 'Music from Big Pink' and 1969's 'The Band' are well-known to fans of the group, but what many people don't realize is just how many photos Landy took; as he puts it in the project description at his Kickstarter page, "I shot over 8,000 frames of film. Of these, only about 30 have been widely published." As for why he's setting out to publish them now, after all these years, Landy explains, "I feel it’s my best body of work from the '60s, and each time I peruse the unseen contact sheets, proof prints and slides, I find at least one new gem and think, 'I am going to make a book of all this some day.' Well, now is the moment."

And there's clearly an eager audience that agrees: Landy recently set out to raise $65,000 for publication of the book, and he's already exceeded his goal with nearly a month to go. This is all the more impressive considering that in order to earn a regular-edition copy, fans need to kick in at least $75 -- and if you want a deluxe edition, that total rises to $400. To his credit, Landy is tossing in plenty of rare stuff; aside from the photos, backers will receive lithographs, thank-you cards and posters signed by Landy.

From a certain point of view, a project this exclusive and expensive might seem antithetical to the simple, down-home beauty of the Band's music -- not to mention the evocative tales of hardscrabble poverty so vividly depicted in many of their greatest songs.

But on the other hand, there's something appropriately noble about Landy's plan to hand-sign and number the first run of the book, titled 'Elliott Landy's Photographs of the Band -- The Book,' as well as his desire to pay tribute to an early shining moment in the career of a group whose legacy would go on to be pockmarked by infighting and tragedy. "It will visually define who they were for the generations to come," writes Landy at the project page. "Brothers creating two of the greatest albums in the history of music."

More From Ultimate Classic Rock