Thursday, March 25, 2010

How the Artist Pictured the Artists

Recently the music world has lost yet another true pioneer of images...I'm talking about Jim Marshall.  So well known are his images of Jazz and Rock royalty, they are part of the way we view these artists.  Each of his photos seemed to capture the "soul" of a particular artist, particularly in a time before the mass media of MTV and the Internet when an artist's image was what represented him or her. Marshall was born in Chicago in 1936, but grew up in San Francisco's Fillmore District.  He caught the photo bug at a young age and knew than that was his calling.  Jim bought his first camera in 1959 and soon began taking pictures of Jazz heroes that  appeared in the Bay Area (including the likes of John Coltrane and Miles Davis).  Soon Jim ended up moving moving to New York to be in the center of the Jazz scene.  By the mid 60's he was back in the Bay Area taking pictures of the groundswell of activity taking place there.  Known for his candidness, artists respected his eye and frequently would hire him as their official photographer.  He worked much in this same role till his death, leaving behind a popular legacy that has stood the test of time.
I think that Jim has done the best in describing his drive:  " Too much bullshit is written about photographs and music. Let the music move you, whether to a frenzy or to 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 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." I have uploaded two important photos, but the best way to see more is to visit , you will be amazed.  Who better to chronicle popular music...these memories will live forever!