Posts Tagged ‘jim marshall’

The Greatest Rock Photographer of All Time Passes On

March 25, 2010

... Just a fly on the wall

Yes, folks, sad news today. Jim Marshall passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 74 (read about it here). This was particularly devastating news to me, as I had a chance to sit down with Jim at the bar on a couple of separate occasions and talk about some of the amazing people he worked with and knew as friends, particularly Jimi Hendrix (described as a “shy loner”), Otis Redding (sex god), Duane Allman (friendly and loveable), and Waylon Jennings (son of a bitch). He spoke of all these people as you would any friend who had long since passed away – with respect, admiration, and bittersweet sadness at their passing. To have been in the presence of so many amazing people was a true honor for Jim – and his photographs tell the story of his reverence with much greater proficiency than my words will allow.

He always carried his Leica camera around with him wherever he went, and he told me, “With guitars you have Gibson or Fender. With cameras, there is only Leica.” He also revealed that he had been using the same film developer for most of his career, which had a lot to do with why his images are so timeless. He never adapted to digital technology, unlike almost all of his peers. Mr. Marshall was extremely genuine and you could tell just by talking to him that he was a real artist who had mastered his craft very early on. I grew up idolizing his images, and was lucky enough to get to thank him for providing the visual documentation that created my rock n’ roll fantasy. His photographs allow you to know something personal about about the subject, and Jim was an expert at capturing candid moments. It’s true that half of his magic was just being in the right place at the right time (more about that in a minute), but he was also a technical master and really knew his stuff. He has a unique feeling of composition and lighting that really frames his subjects perfectly without actually being perfect.

 We’ll see you on down the line, Jim.