During the extraordinary rise of popular culture and counterculture in the 1960’s, Jim Marshall seemed to be everywhere that mattered. Called the most celebrated and prolific photographer of the 20th century, Marshall is widely known for his iconic music photography.
Unlimited access coupled with an inviolate sense of trust between subject and photographer allowed Marshall special opportunities: He was the only photographer allowed backstage at the Beatles final concert in 1966. His images of the Monterey Pop Festival,
which chronicled the breakout performances of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, were woven into the lore of the era. He was entrenched in the Summer of Love in his hometown of San Francisco and documented various aspects of the Civil Rights Movement around the country. He joined Johnny Cash for both the Folsom and San Quentin Prison concerts - by personal invitation - and was chief photographer at Woodstock, arguably the most significant cultural event of the decade.
Since he demanded total access, Marshall lived 24/7 with his subjects, and his pictures reflect a deep affection for the artists as they describe the musicians' character. Marshall has said that it's no accident if his pictures seem musical because, "I see the music." His unique approach allowed him to capture real, unguarded moments and helped define a new style of candid portraiture, perfectly suited to the changing styles and customs of the era.
Sadly, Jim passed away on March 24, 2010 in New York City. Although he never had children, he quipped that his work was his legacy: "I have no kids. My photographs are my children."
Posthumously, Jim Marshall holds the distinction of being the first and only photographer to be presented with the Recording Academy's Trustee Award
; an honorary Grammy® presented to individuals for nonperformance contributions to the music industry. The award was bestowed upon the Jim Marshall Estate in 2014 in recognition of Marshall's unprecedented chronicling of music history from the 1950s through the early 2000s.
Marshall saw himself as an anthropologist and a journalist, visually recording the changing times and the explosion of creativity and celebrity of the ’60s and ’70s. He immersed himself in that world more than any other photographer and, in doing so, emerged as an icon for a new generation of music, art, and photography lovers. His images employed a minimum of artifice to document people and events. Not interested in conventional beauty or technical perfection, Marshall sought to capture character: The simple truth of whom a person is. His photo essays on civil rights and political unrest are a testament to his concern for the human condition.
Marshall left an archive of over one million negatives, most of which have never been seen by the public.
Jim Marshall Photography LLC was established with the primary goal to preserve and protect Marshall’s extraordinary legacy as a discerning photojournalist and a pioneer of rock-and-roll photography. The estate is continuing the legacy of Jim Marshall through sales and licensing, exhibitions, publishing, and the development of a comprehensive catalog as a reference for the totality of his life's work.
The Jim Marshall Estate made the important decision to not
continue to print and release any of the photographs that Marshall himself once made available, ensuring the rarity and importance of the signed pieces that he produced during his lifetime (now referred to as "Lifetime Photographs"). Instead they have chosen to selectively release small, "Estate Authorized" limited editions of images. These are images that were never previously available, and which are specifically relevant to the exclusive exhibitions, publications, and events that result from their projects.
In 2019 Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall
, a comprehensive documentary film on Jim Marshall's life and stunning career was produced. Directed by Alfred George Bailey, and featuring interviews with many music legends and contemporaries along with previously recorded footage, it has subsequently won numerous awards including The Audience Award from the San Francisco International Film Festival (2019), and Best Arts or Music Documentary from The Grierson Awards (2020).
Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall
can be purchased for streaming via the Altavod platform
or on iTunes.