Dennis Hopper and Brian Jones ‘out of their minds’ on acid at a music festival. Jimi Hendrix filming Janis Joplin reclining on a dressing room table. The Rolling Stones – young with short hair and wearing buttoned-up shirts – backstage at a venue that was only half-full. June Carter sleeping on Johnny Cash’s shoulder at Thanksgiving.
The black-and-white images recorded the ordinary moments of extraordinary people during the turbulent and freewheeling 1960s. And the man who was there documenting the musical superstars onstage and in intimate settings became a legend in his own right: Jim Marshall.
A self-taught photographer, Marshall had unprecedented access to the decade’s rock, jazz and folk greats – John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead and the Beatles – and was at the right place at the right time when he moved back to San Francisco in 1965 as the counterculture movement was burgeoning. Two years later, the Summer of Love took over the city’s neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury.
‘He was really there at ground zero when all of that started. He was already established as one of the great music photographers and so the bands just trusted him and knew him and knew he would take a great photo,’ said Amelia Davis, Marshall’s friend and assistant for 13 years until his death in 2010.
The assassination of John F Kennedy on November 22, 1963, the escalation of US involvement in Vietnam, Civil Rights, feminism and the gay rights movement had coalesced into an anti-establishment push and protests by some of the nation’s youth. Rock ‘n’ roll and folk and jazz was an outlet and reflection of a generation in revolt.
A new book, Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture, looks at his work, including some never-before-seen images he took on New York City streets as well as of coal miners in Kentucky and a voter registration drive in Mississippi. It is also a biography of sorts of a complicated man, Davis told DailyMail.com.
‘He had this public persona of being this tough guy. He had guns and knives. He did a lot of cocaine. But… when you got to know Jim, there was a whole another side to him that was extremely compassionate and caring and that you can really see, I think, in a lot of his Civil Rights and street photography.’
Jim Marshall took iconic images of rock, folk and jazz legends during the 1960s that helped to define the decade. A new book, Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture, takes a look at his work that includes many never-seen-before photos as well as famous images. Above, Jimi Hendrix filming Janis Joplin backstage at Winterland, a venue in San Francisco in 1968. Amelia Davis, the author of the book, told DailyMail.com that Marshall didn’t really publish this photo often. ‘I never understood why because I think it’s just such a seductive photograph,’ she said, noting that no one knows what happened to the film on the camera Hendrix was using. ‘But man, can you imagine what’s on that if you could find it?’
Amelia Davis was Jim Marshall’s assistant for 13 years until his death on March 24, 2010 at age 74. Born in Chicago, he grew up in San Francisco. After a short stint in New York City, he came back to San Francisco in 1965 – right when the counterculture movement was taking off. Above, the Grateful Dead’s last free concert on Haight Street in San Francisco in 1968 before they moved to Marin County. Davis told DailyMail.com that the band ‘had had enough. It was a really short period of time from ’65 pretty much to late ’67 that (Haight-Ashbury) was… the epicenter of counterculture but then you had all these young kids hearing about it and moving to San Francisco. You had all these homeless kids doing drugs on the street, trash everywhere, it just became this horrible thing that started out as a great thing’
Marshall first made inroads into the jazz scene in San Francisco early in the decade by meeting legendary saxophonist John Coltrane. His reputation grew and musicians and bands trusted him. Above, the Rolling Stones backstage at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium in 1965. Davis said that the audience was ‘only half full because people didn’t know who the Stones were. And it’s so interesting because then you jump to ’72 and they’re just the biggest rock band in the world.’ Marshall also photographed the Stones’ 1972 tour. ‘They really look so young and innocent. Jim just captured that and they were very unguarded too,’ Davis said of the above image. ‘It feels that you’re there laughing with them’
Born on February 3, 1936 in Chicago, Marshall was raised in San Francisco. He picked up a camera, taught himself how to use it, and roamed the city snapping shots. Davis, his friend and assistant, told DailyMail.com that he instinctively understood shutter and film speed, and the use of light.
‘He did not like to set up photographs and didn’t like to use studio lights. So he loved natural lighting,’ she explained.
For about a year, he was in the US Air Force and when he got out, he moved back to his mom’s house in San Francisco. In 1960, North Beach was the neighborhood where the Beats – poets like Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti – hung out. It was also the place to hear jazz and that was how Marshall met John Coltrane. The legendary saxophonist needed directions to a jazz critic’s house in Berkeley and he offered to drive Coltrane, shooting photos during the interview, Marshall said in archival footage in a new documentary about his life and work, Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall.
Marshall had shot for record labels such as Verve and Blue Note when he decided to establish himself on the East Coast, moving to Greenwich Village in late 1962. Over the next two years, he took photos of folk stars like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, including the iconic image of Dylan rolling a tire in the Village.
He was also doing human interest pieces for prestigious publications such as Look Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post. When JFK was shot on November 22, 1963, Marshall was in the Time-Life building and he rushed out into the street to take photos of people’s reaction.
‘You feel it. You feel their pain. You feel their shock,’ Davis said. ‘He captured it all. Jim’s hallmark is he was able to capture the feeling and emotion through his photography.’
The assassination of the young and popular president disillusioned many and some point to this event as the beginning of the counterculture movement. But there were also Cold War and nuclear war fears as the nation grappled with issues such as segregation, racism, sexism, and homophobia. Many young people and college students enamored with free speech and love as well as drug experimentation took to the streets, campuses and Washington to protest and stage sit-ins and love-ins.
Marshall stayed in New York City until the end of 1964. ’He pleaded guilty to charges of making obscene phone calls to women and having an unlicensed firearm,’ serving a nominal amount a time at Rikers Island, according to the book, Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture. It was not his last run-in with the law.
‘I’ve always liked cars, guns and cameras. Cars and guns have gotten me in trouble – cameras haven’t,’ Marshall said in the new documentary.
Now back in San Francisco in 1965, Marshall was about to see Haight-Ashbury take off as one the epicenters of the counterculture movement – and his career. In the next three years, Joel Selvin wrote in Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture, ‘he would vault into being the premier music photojournalist of his time’ whose ‘signature images would make him world famous.’
Dennis Hopper is known for being an actor in such films as 1969’s Easy Rider and 1994’s Speed. But he was also a photographer. Above, from left to right: Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Nico, a singer and actor with ties to the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol, Hopper, and Judy Collins, a folk and country singer, backstage at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival in California. Amelia Davis, author of a new book, Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture, said that Hopper was taking photos at the festival. ‘But he was completely out of his mind on acid and so was Brian Jones,’ she told DailyMail.com. Jim Marshall took many of the decade’s indelible images and Davis said she surmises that Hopper’s photojournalist character in 1979’s Apocalypse Now was partially based on Marshall
Throughout the 1960s, Jim Marshall was there to document the rock greats onstage, including Jimi Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and the above image of Roger Daltrey of The Who performing at Woodstock in 1969. Amelia Davis, who was Marshall’s assistant until he died in 2010, said that the above photo of Daltrey and his fringe is one of the photographer’s iconic shots. ‘It’s so moody, you feel like you’re there,’ she told DailyMail.com. According to the Guardian’s obituary of Marshall, ‘he later described Woodstock as “organized chaos” and dismissed what he called “all that age-of-Aquarius crap”‘
Jim Marshall and Johnny Cash were good friends, Amelia Davis, his assistant and friend of many years, told DailyMail.com. ‘They just had such a connection and respect for each other,’ she said. Marshall took many photos of Cash, including two well-known shots of the singer: one outside of California’s Folsom Prison where the singer performed for inmates in 1968 and one in which Cash is giving the finger at San Quentin in 1969. Marshall was invited to Cash and June Carter’s home in Hendersonville, Tennessee for Thanksgiving in 1969, and took the above image of Carter sleeping on Cash’ shoulder. Davis said: ‘It’s such an intimate moment, my God… you just feel that bond that June Carter and Johnny Cash felt for each other and it’s so emotional’
Above, Chuck Berry, known for the 1958 hit Johnny B Goode, performing at Madison Square Garden in 1969. ‘That is such a great performance shot – really captures the excitement and you can almost hear the people cheering in the background,’ said Amelia Davis, author of a new book, Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture. She noted Berry’s signature pose with his guitar between his legs
Davis said that musicians knew Marshall’s work and granted him access.
In the documentary, Marshall said: ’I want total access. I don’t want someone telling me I can’t go here or there. If they want me there, then they should respect my judgment and taste and integrity, if you want to use that word, and let’s f*****g take the f*****g picture.’
Marshall took shots of musicians in the thrall of performance: The Who’s Roger Daltrey flinging his arms accented by his long-fringed jacket at Woodstock to Chuck Berry furiously playing his guitar at Madison Square Garden. But because of the trust he built and his friendships, he also got images of unguarded moments, like Johnny Cash with his parents and his wife, June Carter, at their home in Hendersonville, Tennessee at Thanksgiving in 1969.
He took several well-known images of Cash, including the singer standing outside of California’s Folsom Prison where he performed for inmates on January 13, 1968. (The live album, At Folsom Prison, was released in May 1968.) Marshall also took one of the singer’s most well-known image: Cash giving the middle finger at San Quentin prison in 1969.
Davis said that Marshall and Cash ‘had such a connection and respect for each other. One of the only times I’ve seen… Jim cry was when he picked up the phone and they told him that Johnny Cash had died.’
Throughout the ’60s, Marshall was the go-to photographer for musicians and bands, taking indelible images like Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Jim Morrison staring defiantly at the camera while smoking, and Janis Joplin cradling a bottle of Southern Comfort as well as going on tour with legends like Ray Charles and in the early 1970s, the Rolling Stones.
Davis said that Marshall got the live shots on that 1972 tour when the Stones were at their height but that he also ‘got the backstage photos too where they’re sitting on the floor and they’re waiting and they’re exhausted and Mick Jagger’s doing yoga. He was also able to capture them as everyday human beings.
‘I think that’s what made Jim’s photography stand apart.’
But around the mid-1970s, music turned more corporate and managers were more conscious of trying to control musicians’ image. Limits were placed on access, Davis explained.
‘And that’s when Jim kind of got really angry. He got very disillusioned in the mid to late ’70s with all that was going on.’
In the documentary, Marshall said that it was no longer fun.
While Jim Marshall is predominantly known for his images of music legends, Amelia Davis told DailyMail.com that he also did human interest photography for prestigious magazines such as Look Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post. When President John F Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, Marshall was in the Time-Life Building in New York City. He rushed out into the streets and started taking pictures of people’s reactions, which is how he got the image above. ‘You feel it. You feel their pain. You feel their shock,’ she said. Davis is the author of a new book, Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture, which takes a look at his well-known images as well as some of his street photography that has never been seen before
Above, Janis Joplin in an iconic photo of her holding a Southern Comfort bottle backstage at the Winterland in San Francisco in 1968. Jim Marshall and Janis Joplin ‘had such a connection,’ said Amelia Davis. ‘They really just loved each other. And I think Jim got some amazing photographs of Janis.’ Joplin died at age 27 in 1970 reportedly of a heroin overdose. In the book, Marshall is quoted saying years after her death: ‘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’
Jim Marshall had been photographing Jim Morrison and the Doors onstage at the Northern California Folk Rock Festival in 1968, but Amelia Davis said that he wanted a different, more intimate shot of Morrison so he was following the lead singer around backstage. Davis told DailyMail.com: ‘And finally Jim Morrison turns to Jim and he goes, “Hey Jim, you want your picture, here’s your f*****g picture” and he puts his cigarette in his mouth and looks straight at him’
In the late 1960s, Marshall got hooked on cocaine. The habit persisted for years and after his second wife left him in 1981, he had more troubles with the law. In 1983, ‘he was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of brandishing a weapon at his neighbors. He was also charged with owning more than fifty pounds of Teflon-coated, armor-piercing bullets,’ and was sentenced to a work furlough, according to the book.
‘He had a lot of guns. Guns were a big part of his persona,’ Michael Douglas said during the documentary. Douglas knew Marshall from his days of filming the 1970s TV show, The Streets of San Francisco, on location. ‘I mean there’s a softness and compassion about him and how he treated his friends. But you do not want to be on the wrong side of Jim Marshall.’
That contradiction – a man who was sensitive, compassionate, intelligent, violent and irascible – was shown in both the documentary and the book.
By the time Davis met Marshall in 1998, he was still using coke. She recalled that he also wasn’t working that much although he did take photos when record labels contacted him.
‘I’ve been my own worst enemy,’ Marshall said during the documentary.
‘It was very destructive and one of those things that he couldn’t get away from. He would lock himself up alone in his apartment, do an eight ball, and then, to come down after the cocaine, take two Ambien sleeping pills, two Benadryls (just in case the Ambiens didn’t work), some wine and half a bottle of whiskey. And he woke up in the morning, usually without a hangover! Anybody else who did that would be dead, but not Jim,’ she wrote in the book, Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture.
After his 1997 book, Not Fade Away, was published, Davis said Marshall ‘got huge recognition. He was showing in galleries, selling prints. So he actually didn’t really have to work anymore because he was making money on the licensing of his images.’
After Marshall died on March 24, 2010 at the age of 74, he left his archive to Davis, who is a successful photographer with three books of her work.
‘Jim never had children. He considered his photos his children and he said the only person I trust to take care of my children is you when I’m gone.’
Photographing for over 50 years, he had taken over a million images just in 35mm black and white, Davis said, noting he shot color slides as well. She noted that Marshall considered himself a reporter with a camera.
‘He was a true photojournalist that documented the things that were happening and I want everybody to understand that and not just have him pigeonholed as a music photographer. There was just so much more to him than that.’
Above, the cover of a new book, Jim Marshall: Show Me the Picture, published by Chronicle Books. When Marshall died in 2010, he left his archive to his longtime assistant and friend, Amelia Davis, who said there were over a million black and white images. Marshall was known for his iconic images that documented the rock ‘n’ roll legends of the 1960s, but Davis pointed out that he also did street photography and took photos of coal miners in Kentucky and a voter registration drive in Mississippi. ’I think Jim was really this kind of misunderstood guy. He was a true photojournalist that documented the things that were happening and I want everybody to understand that and not just have him pigeonholed as a music photographer. There was just so much more to him than that’
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