San Francisco photographer, Jim Marshall (1936-2010) was the pre-eminent music photographer and journalist of the 20th century.
Born in 1936, Marshall grew up in the Fillmore District of San Francisco. At an early age, he fell in love with music and cameras and began photographing with a box camera. He was a fixture in San Francisco’s North Beach coffeehouses and soon was photographing resident musicians throughout the city with a Leica rangefinder. Jim’s big break came after a chance run in with John Coltrane and afterwards went on to shoot jazz greats such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, among others. After spending two years in New York to become established, he returned to San Francisco for good and began shooting for Rolling Stone and Time Magazine.
Jim, who passed away in 2010, dedicated his life to his craft and has been credited with over 500 album covers. He has been published countless times and has many book titles credited to his name, the latest being: The Haight: Love Rock and Revolution, published last year through his estate, owned and operated by longtime assistant and friend, Amelia Davis.
"Jim always attributed his ability to capture the authentic, vulnerable and often insane moments of the musicians he photographed to the unencumbered access he had with them,” says Davis. “He was able to spend time with them on planes, backstage and anywhere else he could manage without time limitations and legions of other people telling him what, where and how many minutes to shoot. That and the pureness that came from the lenses of his beloved Leica cameras.”
It was this access that gave Marshall the rare distinction of having a portrait of at least one Grammy award winning artist for each of the 55 years since the Grammy’s began and in 2014 he was posthumously awarded the Trustees Award from The Recording Academy - a Special Merit Award Grammy that honors contributions to music in areas other than performance.