I first became aware of Jim Marshall's photographs when I was an impressionable young lad growing up in San Francisco. I did not know of his rock & roll exploits or any other of the soon to be made legendary stories. I only knew of his work and his photography was one of the most influential and inspiring body of work that had a lasting impression. His photography captured something deeper and more personal than some of the other work being published at the time. Plus his final prints were so rich and lush. His images of Miles Davis, Ray Charles and Big Mama Thorton showed what it was like to print rich toned dark skin. A gray scale that just runs so deep into the silver of the print. The true definition of "Black Pearl". But not just considering technique, his empathy to capture Johnny Cash's relationship with June Carter was so spot on. His iconic shot of Janis Joplin sitting alone backstage with a bottle of Southern Comfort in her hand. While at the peak of her creative powers she looks slouched and despondent., That one shot packs a more emotional punch, than a hundred Jim Marshall "F" bombs.
One of his most remarkable photographs is of Miles Davis sitting on a stool in the corner in a boxing ring. Shirtless and his arms are outstretched, Miles has totally surrendered himself to Jim. What a accomplishment! If you know the personality of Mile Davis, you would know that this image it truly unique in capturing Miles Davis. Normally taciturn and defensive, Miles trusted Jim so much as to let him into this small moment inside the proverbial boxing match of a photo shoot. Go ahead and search the internet and look for a more accessible photo of Miles Davis! I haven't found one yet. That was the genius of Jim Marshall.
Jim's photography was the total package. Great content backed up by excellent technique.