Jim Marshall (photographer)

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Jim Marshall
Born (1936-02-03)February 3, 1936
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died March 24, 2010(2010-03-24) (aged 74)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Photographer

James Joseph Marshall (February 3, 1936[1] – March 24, 2010) was a photographer, often of rock stars. He had extended access to numerous musicians through the 1960s and 1970s, including being backstage at The Beatles' final concert in San Francisco's Candlestick Park, and chief photographer at Woodstock.


Marshall was born in Chicago, Illinois. While still at high school, he purchased his first camera and began documenting musicians and artists in San Francisco. After serving several years in the Air Force, he returned and moved to New York. He was hired by Atlantic Records and Columbia Records to photograph their musical artists. His photos appeared on the covers of over 500 albums and even more were published in Rolling Stone.[2][3] He famously photographed Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival, and Johnny Cash at San Quentin.[4]

Marshall was said to have at least one Leica camera with him at all times. One famous story of a CEO that offered to buy the camera that he used to shoot Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock for $25,000 (in 1973) which he refused[citation needed]. Marshall was well known in the industry for his portraits of musicians.

His photos of musicians, taken on stage and off without any direction or posing, of 1960s and 1970s musicians were possible because of the exceptional access musicians allowed him. His pictures of Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, the Allman Brothers, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, Guns N' Roses, Santana and The Beatles "helped define their subjects as well as rock ’n’ roll photography itself."[3][4]

When I’m photographing people, I don’t like to give any direction. There are no hair people fussing around, no makeup artists. I’m like a reporter, only with a camera; I react to my subject in their environment, and if it’s going well, I get so immersed in it that I become one with the camera.[4]

Annie Leibovitz said he was "the rock ’n’ roll photographer."[4]

Marshall also photographed other musical greats such as Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Ray Charles.[2][4]

Other photographic assignments included shooting the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 for Autoweek and the 2007 introduction of the Nissan GT-R.[2]


In 2014 Marshall was posthumously given a Trustees Award (part of the Lifetime Achievement Awards) at the 56th Grammy Awards,[5] the first photographer, and as of 2014 the only, to receive one.[2]

Also in 2014, the Leica Gallery in West Hollywood opened a tribute to Marshall, accompanied by treasures from the iconic camera brand, the camera Marshall loved. A photograph of him at Woodstock shows him with $40,000 worth of camera equipment around his neck (as estimated by another photographer).[2]

Personal life[edit]

He was known for his forceful personality that became something of a celebrity of its own.[4] Not having any children, he used to say "I have no kids," "My photographs are my children."[3] He lived in California, but died in New York on a trip in which he was scheduled to speak in SoHo.

In 1967 he dated Folgers coffee heiress, Abigail Folger. She accompanied him and fellow photographer Elaine Mayes to the Monterey Pop Festival.[6] Abigail was murdered in 1969 by followers of Charles Manson.

Marshall died in New York City, New York,[7] aged 74.


  1. ^ "Bio" jimmarshallphotographyllc.com
  2. ^ a b c d e Ronk, Blake Z. (1 January 2014). "Cars, guns and cameras: The life of Jim Marshall". Autoweek. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Jim Marshall, Legendary Rock Photographer, Passes Away at 74". Rolling Stone. 24 March 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Sisario, Ben (24 March 2010). "Jim Marshall, Rock ’n’ Roll Photographer, Dies at 74". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2014.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "nytobit" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ "Special Merit Awards: Class Of 2014". GRAMMY.com. 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2014-01-13. 
  6. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Happened-Monterey-Modern-Defining-Moment/dp/0972559604
  7. ^ "Jim Marshall Photographer for Woodstock, Cash, Dylan, and Others Dies at 74" latimes.com 24 March 2010

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