Tribute to Jim Marshall: Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty


Rock-and-roll photographer Jim Marshall died on Tuesday at the age of 74. If you’re not familiar with the man himself, you’ve certainly seen his work: he was an official photographer of the Woodstock Festival, the only photographer allowed backstage at the Beatles’ final concert in 1966, and he shot more than 500 album covers. Marshall was known to gain intimate access to the musicians, sometimes even going so far as to live with them, in order to create truly vulnerable portraits. He continued to work after the days of psychedelics and electric guitars, and more recently worked with the likes of John Mayer and Ben Harper. Marshall was scheduled to promote his new book Match Prints this week, written with fellow photographer Timothy White.

Just as the music lives on, we know that Marshall’s photographs will prevail as iconic cultural images. A roundup of some of our favorite shots after the jump.

“Too much bullshit is written about photographs and music. Let the music move you, whether to a frenzy or a peaceful place. Let it be what you want to hear—not what others say is popular. Let the photograph be one you remember—not for its technique but for its soul. Let it become a part of your life—a part of your past to help shape your future. But most of all, let the music and the photograph be something you love and will always enjoy.” — Marshall

Jimi, Arm Outstretched (1967)

I approached Jimi and told him my name was Jim Marshall – that I was one of the photographers. He made some comment like, ‘Far out, man, maybe this shit is supposed to be,’ and I asked what he meant. He said the dude who made his amps was named Jim Marshall, and smart-ass me says, ‘Yeah, I know that.’ But then he said, ‘What you d0n’t know is that my middle name is Marshall.'” — Marshall

Ray Charles Recording (1962)

“He was trying to see who that person was, and understanding that we care about these people with the way that they touch our lives with music.” -Gail Buckland, curator of the Brooklyn Museum’s “Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present

Dylan Kicking A Tire (1963)

“This particular photo was taken one Sunday morning when Bobby, his girlfriend Suze Rotolo, Dave Van Ronk, and Terri Van Ronk were all going to breakfast in New York. Just two frames were shot – no big deal – but I feel it shows Bob was still a kid in 1963.” — Marshall

Janis Lounging with Southern Comfort (1968)

“When I showed Janis the picture of her lying back with the bottle in her hand, she said, ‘Jim, this is how it is sometimes. Lousy.’ Some people said I shouldn’t have published the picture of her lying back with the bottle in her hand, but I’ll defend it to the death. It’s an honest picture, and Janis liked it.” — Marshall

Cash Flipping the Bird (1969)

“His record company is still using it [the above shot]. It shows John’s individuality, but the gesture was definitely done in jest. John’s got a great sense of humor and this was not a serious shot.” — Marshall

Mick Backstage (1972)

“As a human being and as an artist, he [Marshall] has never shied away from honesty. His style is very ‘in your face,’ and yet he inspires trust and confidence in the people he photographs, and the shared intimacy is caught in a millisecond. And there it is. Forever.” — Michael Douglas

Janis and Her Psychedelic Porsche (1968)

“She [Janis] was wonderful, not the prettiest girl in the world but she was not afraid of the camera. I could’ve shot her anytime at all ‘go ahead baby and take a picture.’ Janis was very important to me, real and honest.” — Marshall

Zeppelin, LA (1970)

“I was shooting Led Zeppelin for Atlantic records at the Hyatt House in 1970. The group shot was taken on the top floor of the hotel, to get all four of them together at one time was a job, I just had available light and got some portraits of each of them by the window.” — Marshall

The Beatles Descending From Plane (1966)

“I do see the music. This ‘career’ has never been just a job – it’s been my life.” — Marshall

Miles in Boxing Ring (1971)

“At Newman’s Gym, Miles [Davis] used to work out. He used to box with guys, ‘Don’t hit me in the mouth, I gotta play tonight.'” — Marshall

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