Jim Marshall has long been regarded as the greatest rock music photographer, but the renowned shooter also had another passion: chronicling everyday scenes that surrounded his primary subjects.
A collection of such images, in addition to Marshall’s bread-and-butter themes are captured brilliantly in the recently published The Haight: Love, Rock, And Revolution (Insight Editions). The book — with text provided by Joel Selvin who collaborated on a number of books with Marshall — captures everyday life in the fabled San Francisco neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury and the cultural change that was afoot during the creative and oft-turbulent period of 1965-68.
The book was discussed on the Dec. 6 edition of Greasy Tracks with guests Selvin, Amelia Davis and Jay Blakesberg who were involved in bringing Marshall’s iconic images — more than 200 of which were never-before published — together in this impressive compilation.
Access the archive of the feature here.
Following Marshall’s passing in 2010 at the age of 74, Davis, who had been his assistant for many years, found a notebook labeled “The Haight” in Marshall’s apartment. According to Davis, Marshall had tried to get a book about the neighborhood — which was once a beacon (and for thousands of people, a destination) of the counterculture movement — published in 1976, but there were no takers.
Marshall never married and had no children, but he willed his entire estate of more than 1 million color and black and white negatives — which he referred to as his “children” — to Davis who now owns and manages Jim Marshall Photography LLC An award-winning photographer in her own right, Davis has had three books of her work published.
Davis was involved throughout the two-year process of getting the book ready for publishing, including the painstaking task of going through
several hundred thousand photos that Marshall had taken. Ultimately, 305 images — color and black and white — made the final cut.
While his work appeared on more than 500 album covers, it was Marshall’s legendary ability to simply capture musicians in natural, un-posed settings which set him apart from other shooters. Armed with his trusty Leica cameras — Marshall was known to have five around his neck at any given time — an eye for getting “the shot” and often being in the right place at the right time is what led to so many incredible images.
Such photos include Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival; the Beatles at their final proper concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966; Janis Joplin with the bottle of Southern Comfort; and Johnny Cash flipping the bird at San Quentin Prison. He also shot timeless photos of Miles Davis, Ray Charles and John Coltrane amongst many jazz musicians he photographed over the years.
Marshall was a guest on Greasy Tracks in 2004 following the publication of his book, Proof.
Selvin and Marshall were close friends and Selvin contributed to nearly every book Marshall published since their 1992 effort Monterey Pop. Selvin was on the program in May to discuss his biography of Bert Burns
Selvin wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle for nearly 40 years and has contributed to Rolling Stone, Melody Maker and Billboard among other publications. He has authored or collaborated on a dozen books, including: Summer of Love: The Inside Story of LSD, Rock & Roll, Free Love and
High Times in the Wild West; The Treasures of The Hard Rock;Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History; as well as biographies on Ricky Nelson and Sammy Hagar.
Blakesberg, who oversees licensing of Marshall’s images, is a Bay-area music photographer and video director. He’s published a number of books of his images taken over 30-plus years. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, Vanity Fair and Time, while his photos have graced dozens of album covers.