Daily Picture Show

Rock, Roll And A Remembrance For Photographer Jim Marshall

Renowned rock and roll photographer Jim Marshall died Wednesday night at age 74. NPR's Felix Contreras has this remembrance. Listen to the radio story here.

  • Jimi Hendrix performs a soundcheck at the Monterey Pop Festival, 1967.
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    Jimi Hendrix performs a soundcheck at the Monterey Pop Festival, 1967.
    All photos by Jim Marshall
  • Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead backstage at Woodstock, 1969.
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    Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead backstage at Woodstock, 1969.
  • Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band practices in the bathroom of a Holiday Inn, 1971.
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    Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band practices in the bathroom of a Holiday Inn, 1971.
  • Johnny Cash "flipping the bird" at San Quentin Prison, 1969. Marshall wrote that the gesture "was definitely done in jest. John's got a great sense of humor and this was not a serious shot."
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    Johnny Cash "flipping the bird" at San Quentin Prison, 1969. Marshall wrote that the gesture "was definitely done in jest. John's got a great sense of humor and this was not a serious shot."
  • Bob Dylan, 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... I feel it shows Bob was still a kid in 1963," Marshall wrote.
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    Bob Dylan, 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... I feel it shows Bob was still a kid in 1963," Marshall wrote.
  • Janis Joplin holds a bottle of Southern Comfort backstage at San Francisco's Winterland in 1968. "Janis was a great subject to photograph," Marshall wrote, "because she was not afraid of the camera and came alive onstage — that was her world."
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    Janis Joplin holds a bottle of Southern Comfort backstage at San Francisco's Winterland in 1968. "Janis was a great subject to photograph," Marshall wrote, "because she was not afraid of the camera and came alive onstage — that was her world."
  • Miles Davis sits in a boxing ring at Newman's Gym in San Francisco, 1971.
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    Miles Davis sits in a boxing ring at Newman's Gym in San Francisco, 1971.
  • The Beatles coming off the plane in San Francisco, Calif., on August 29, 1966, before their last concert.
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    The Beatles coming off the plane in San Francisco, Calif., on August 29, 1966, before their last concert.

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Jerry Garcia's grin, Carlos Santana's grimace, Jimi Hendrix's flamboyance and Duane Allman's intense gaze of concentration. Jim Marshall seemed to sense when it was coming and knew the exact instant when he should click the shutter.

It was usually because he shot from the stage, as close to the music as the members of the band, completely in tune with the glances and head nods that make up the wordless communication between musicians in the moment.

Jim Marshall's photographs were the reason my high school photojournalism class turned into a concert photography workshop as I spent hours in the dark room experimenting with my own manipulation of shadow and light trying to elicit the same excitement I saw in Marshall's shots. Those Marshall photographs made music come alive for me. Which is a funny thing to say since the music itself should make that happen.

Jim Marshall with his iconic image of Johnny Cash. (Courtesy of

hide captionJim Marshall with his iconic image of Johnny Cash. (Courtesy of Tim Mantoani)

But I think I experienced those images like that because I was young, the music was new and the musicians played with an infectious sense of discovery. And Jim Marshall was there with his camera as witness.

While Marshall continued to snap photos throughout his career, I'm always drawn back to his work from the late 1960s and early '70s.

Looking back at his photographs from that era on news of his passing, I now understand that I had to live an additional 35 years to really grasp what is in them: not just the now-iconic images of rock stars that I saw as a high school music-lover.

I now see intimate portraits of young men and women celebrating the simple joys of being an age when we could still look at life with wonder and imagine the infinite possibilities of our dreams and aspirations.

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