IN THE WORLD OF MUSIC MAGAZINE publishing, Jim Marshall was
probably just as important as the musicians he photographed. In an industry
where image so frequently becomes perception, Marshall’s keen eye and skilled
craftsmanship produced thousands of photographs which may have done
more to shape many artists’ images than the artists did for themselves.
As voyeurs of all things guitar, we have seen many of these iconic images:
Duane Allman practicing in a motel bathroom, Hendrix with his fist in the
air, Jerry Garcia sitting in the dirt at Woodstock, and other equally powerful
shots. In some ways, Marshall’s photos propelled the artists farther than the
printed words that accompanied them.
In the 26 years I knew and worked with Jim, I never met a photographer
more dedicated to the purity of his craft, or more solid in the belief that his
photos were an integral part of the fabric of the music scene.
When I began my career as a magazine designer, Jim Marshall was a larger than-life figure. Even as we grew to become friends and collaborators, I was
always a bit intimidated by his intense demand that the standards he set for his own quality and attention-to-detail be
matched by everyone. To me, he will always be the gold standard for music photography.
Jim passed away in New York on March 24, as he was embarking on a book signing tour. He was a unique fixture
in the framework of our professional and personal lives. The industry will be poorer without him.
Frequently—thanks in part to his
persistent demand for unrestricted
access to performances—Jim was able to
shoot from positions many other
photographers could not, producing
dramatic compositions like this one of
Johnny Winter during an Oakland,
California, concert in 1975.
Of all the images of Jimi Hendrix, this one—made at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967—emblazoned the upcoming star into the
collective consciousness of the Baby
Boomer generation. The photo became a
symbol of the wanton rebellion of rock and
roll, and Hendrix’s own incendiary and
meteoric rise and self-destructive fall .
Marshall’s recent book Trust focused on
the importance of establishing a strong
rapport with his subjects, which
sometimes led to surreptitious
exposures during intimate moments—like this shot of Keith Richards at a