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Remembering legendary photographer Jim Marshall

25 Mar 2010

Born in Chicago in 1936, Jim Marshall was raised in San Francisco, where he began documenting the Beat scene while still in high school. His big break came in the 1950s after he bumped into John Coltrane, who needed a ride. The jazz legend later showed his gratitude by allowing Jim to photograph him.

Those photos helped secure work shooting musicians such as Bob Dylan and Ray Charles for the Atlantic and Columbia labels in New York. The rest as they say is history. Jim Marshall's unparalleled access, technical talent and musical passion merged to create hundreds of album and magazine covers, turning him into a household name among the biggest names in rock 'n' roll.  He photographed the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Ray Charles and Thelonious Monk. When the Beatles played their final concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park in 1966, he was the only photographer invited backstage.

Always insisting he didn't have talent (he said he simply could "see the music") Jim Marshall captured some of the most memorable moments in music history such as Johnny Cash at San Quentin and Jimi Hendrix at Monterey Pop. All at Genesis are saddened to learn Jim died in his sleep Tuesday in a New York hotel, age 74.

An exhibition of of photos from Jim Marshall's latest book, "Match Prints", is set to go on display Friday at New York's Staley-Wise Gallery.  The New York Times is currently featuring an online photo gallery of Jim's work, here.

Top: Jim Marshall, 2002, by Scott Sommerdorf / The San Francisco Chronicle
Left: Jimi Hendrix, Monterey Pop, 1967, by Jim Marshall

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