Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spotlight: Jim Marshall

The iconic rock photographer Jim Marshall died in his sleep on March 23, 2010 in New York. He was 74 years old.

After returning home from serving in the Air Force, Marshall had a chance encounter with John Coltrane: when Coltrane asked him for a lift, Marshall obliged and the jazz legend returned the favor by letting Marshall shoot nine rolls of film.

Soon after, Marshall moved to New York and was hired by Atlantic and Columbia to shoot their artists at work in the studio, including Bob Dylan and Ray Charles. But it was when Marshall returned to the San Francisco in the late Sixties that he produced his most indelible work, taking hundreds of photographs of the Dead, Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and Santana.

He developed special bonds with the artists he covered and those relationships helped him capture some of his most vivid and iconic imagery.
Marshall was given unparalleled access to rock’s biggest artists. He was the only photographer granted backstage access for the Beatles’ final full concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966. He shot the Rolling Stones on their historic 1972 tour. He's responsible for the famous photo of Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival and that legendary shot of Johnny Cash flipping off the camera at San Quentin.

Jim Marshall lived the rock n' roll lifestyle as hard, if not harder, than most during the heyday of the late 60's and 1970's, having been barred from at least two national hotel chains for damage to rooms and outrageous behavior. He was known for his fierce loyalty to his friends and was often willing to give his last dollar for someone in need.

He was also known to have at least one Leica camera with him at all times. There's a famous story of a CEO that offered to buy the camera that he used to shoot Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock for 25,000 dollars (in 1973). He responded "Get the hell out of here."

Marshall's Collection
Iconic Photographs from his 2009 book Trust

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