By Miss Rosen
Jim Marshall’s images have become a visual diary of the rebellious and revolutionary spirit of the genre.
Throughout his illustrious career, American photographer Jim Marshall(1936-2010) defined the look of rock and roll. His images helped turned the genre into a revolutionary movement which went against the oppressive power structure of the status quo.
“Jim was a very complicated man and anybody who knew him either hated him or loved him,” says Amelia Davis, Marshall’s longtime assistant. She is also the editor of Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture – Images and Stories from a Photography Legend (Chronicle Books), a masterful compendium of the photographer’s life designed to complement the documentary film, Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall.
“He had a rough exterior,” she continues. “He was a drug-addicted, drinking, gun-toting guy. But when you look at these photographs you see humanity in Jim, because he wouldn’t be able to take those photos if he didn’t have that inside of him.”
Born in Chicago to immigrant parents who identified as Assyrian, Marshall’s family moved to San Francisco when he was a baby. Soon after, his father left and Marshall began to fend for himself. A self-taught photographer, Marshall bought his first Leica in 1959 and went into North Beach and the Filmore District to photograph the jazz scene.
The Charlatans playing at the Summer of Love concert in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967
The Who outside their hotel in the Tenderloin, San Francisco, 1967
“Jim developed his own style. He was able to learn his equipment and he knew it so well that it was an extension of himself,” Davis says. “He loved natural light. He hated artificial light. He liked to capture people in their environment with their guard down.”
When the Haight-Asbury counterculture scene took off in the mid-60s, Marshall was poised to document the era from the beginning to end. Whether travelling with Joan Baez while she joined in the trial runs for the March of Washington, or with the Rolling Stones on their notorious 1972 tour, Marshall had an innate sense that something was going to happen – and that he had to be there.
“He didn’t know what but he had his camera with him and he was able to document it all,” Davis says. “A writer has his notebook and his pen. A musician has their instrument and that’s how they communicate their voice. Jim communicated with his camera. That was his instrument and that’s the way he was able to communicate these feelings to the world.”
Whether accompanying Johnny Cash for his landmark performance at the San Quentin State Prison or hanging out with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, Marshall was an integral part of the scene. His photographs have become visual diary of the rebellious spirit of rock and roll at the height of the Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation Movements, fully embodying the ethos of free love.
“With Jim’s photos I don’t feel like a voyeur, I feel like a participant,” Davis says. “You feel like you can step into that frame and experience it with them at that moment. That’s what separates Jim from a lot of other photographers. You are a piece of that moment.”
Read more at huckmag.com.
From Blind magazine
By Bill Shapiro
The images of music star photographer Jim Marshall are published in a new book by Chronicle Books.
Jim Marshall not only shot some of the most iconic moments of the ’60s and ’70s music scene, he was the photographer who actually made them iconic: That picture of Jimi Hendrix kneeling before his flaming guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival? That was Marshall. Johnny Cash flipping the bird at San Quentin? He was looking straight into Marshall’s Leica. Jerry Garcia plopped on the ground next to a “Dead End” sign at Woodstock? Yep, Marshall.
Read the full review at blind.com.
New York magazine names "Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture" a top gift pick for 2019.
Read the full review at the Strategist.
From Publishers Weekly:
In this magnificent photo collection, Davis, who runs the Jim Marshall Photography estate, celebrates the work of photographer Jim Marshall (1936–2010). Marshall was best known for his shots of music legends such as John Coltrane and Otis Redding, and his photos of Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival, but here Davis opens with Marshall’s noncelebrity images: a woman’s reflection in a bar, a circus clown on a cigarette break, and a blind man asking for donations to purchase a security dog. From there, Davis jumps into his famous photos from the Monterey Jazz Festival and Woodstock, as well as photos of Johnny Cash’s legendary performance at San Quentin, which yielded the well-known image of Cash viciously giving the finger to Marshall when he asked for “one for the warden.” Marshall’s reputation and conviviality, Davis posits, enabled him to snap candid shots of musicians at home, in the studio, and backstage. …
Read the full review at Publishers Weekly.
Ahead of the official launch of "Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture" by Chronicle Books, the video trailer is a book trailer of the day in the trade publication Shelf Awareness.
Visit the Shelf Awareness website.