Jim Marshall was able to capture some of rock ‘n roll’s finest moments through his camera. Take a look at some of his photos and learn more about him in this second installment of Behind the Lens.
“I have no kids, my photographs are my children” – Jim Marshall
Jim Marshall was known for his iconic photos of Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Jim Morrison, and other musicians who shaped the rock ‘n roll era in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He was born in 1936 in Chicago, Illinois and his family moved to San Francisco a couple of years later. While he was in high school, he took interest in photography and bought himself a camera — a Leica M2. There were many artists and musicians in San Francisco at that time and he took that opportunity to document them with his trusty camera.
His big break as a photographer came when he had a chance encounter with jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. The musician needed a lift and Jim Marshall obliged. In exchange for the favor, Coltrane allowed Jim Marshall to photograph him and ended up using 9 rolls of film. After that incident, Marshall moved to New York and worked on several assignments for various companies. From then on, many career opportunities came knocking on his door. Below is a list of some notable events that Jim Marshall was fortunate enough to capture:
- Photographed Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, and Cream at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
- Photographed Johnny Cash recroding at Folsom Prison in 1968.
- Took photographs of The Rolling Stones tour for LIFE magazine.
- Had a photo session with Grace Slick and Janis Joplin together — two queens of rock ’n roll who were supposedly rivals.
- Took photographs at the last Beatles concert and the only photographer allowed backstage access.
- Woodstock ’69’s chief photographer.
Because of his presence and perseverance, he was able to capture the personalities of his subjects, which can be quite difficult in rock ‘n roll photography since there’s already a perceived image of the artist. Jim Marshall continued to take photographs later in life and even had snapshots of Velvet Revolver and Lenny Kravitz.
Jim Marshall died in 2010 at the age of 74. He has certainly contributed some of the most iconic photos in rock ‘n roll photography and the spirit of the 60’s and 70’s will always be remembered through photographs thanks to his skill and talent.
Which of these photos do you like the most? Are there other rock ’n roll photographers that you would like to get featured on the Magazine? Leave a comment below! Meanwhile, you can check out other articles on Behind the Lens.