“Louis Armstrong once said there are only two types of music: good and bad. You could say the same thing about photography.”
Marshall is famous for being one of the most prolific photographers to document the era of Rock ’n’ Roll. Jim Marshall’s body of work represents a who’s who of US rock music history. According to the legend told at Rolling Stone magazine, he put together his first great photo story in 1960, when John Coltrane, one of the greatest jazz saxophone players of his time, asked Marshall for a lift. Of course, he gave him a ride, asking to be allowed to do a portrait of the musician in exchange. Apparently, he used up nine rolls offilm and was soon known as a talented newcomer photographer. Marshall’s images are natural and unpretentious; he preferred natural light sources, always kept close to the musicians, and avoided complex staging. This resulted in legendary portraits, and made him one of the most important chroniclers of the rock scene.
The Haight Street images constitute a particularly important body of work. After two years in New York, Marshall returned to San Francisco in 1964. He captured his own neighbourhood – Haight-Ashbury, the fabled hippie district – in over one hundred thousand images. Daily life on the streets reveal a unique panorama of dancing hippies, lovers, anti-war protesters, policemen and amazed passers-by. Together with the music, fashion and politics, they paint an authentic picture of the historic transformation undergone by American society during the late sixties.