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Wednesday, 10 June 2009


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And in the background, the product of another Jim Marshall.

I probably won't be buying one this week, but uh, out of interest, does anyone know what equipment and film stock Jim shot these on? Nice colours.

>>And in the background, the product of another Jim Marshall.<<

And in Jimi's case, he didn't need it to go to 11!


Man, there are some great pictures on that site of Miles and Monk....

Steve - I was wondering if there was any relation there...maybe the amp maker (or his son/nephew/etc) getting access to take the photos because of the amps...

Love the Slick/Joplin portrait. Wow.

When I was hired by Nikon in 1991, on my second day of work, I went to the apartment/office of the Nikon Pro Services branch supervisor for San Francisco, the late and much-missed Mike Phillips. He and Steve Heiner (now Nikon's Sr. Mngr. of technical stuff for DSLRs) gave me my first lessons in what it was to be a Nikon technical rep.

Mike had known Jim Marshall since the early 70s, I think, and had several original prints on his office walls that Marshall had given him, and many of us used to speculate on their eventual worth. (I don't know what became of them.) He also had any number of hair-raising Marshall stories. Marshall's is a wonderful body of work, but, as one might guess about a chronicle of 60/70s rock stars, it was not built daintily :-)

QUOTING MYSELF: And in the background, the product of another Jim Marshall.

Actually there's a third. That's James Marshall Hendrix there in the middle!

Those were the days!
I remember when I thought of Grace Slick as an older woman, now she looks so young.....

Cheers, Robin

I hear you man. I've lived in the north SF Bay Area all my life including those days in the '60s and '70s when it was all happening musically. It still is. Several years ago I got serious about photography and realized all the missed opportunities. One night about three years ago this month, I was at a small local venue shooting a T-Bone Burnett and Jakob Dylan show with my digital SLR. I looked to my left and there was Jim Marshall with two Leicas hanging around his neck. He pointed at my camera, smiled and shook my hand. Too cool! Talk about validation. I just watched him work for a while and then he disappeared. I sure would like to have seen those photos. My shots pretty much sucked. I know it sounds stupid but after that night I went and bought a Leica and shoot only Tri-X at the shows now. I just love the look and the camera is perfect for that type of shooting in a dark theatre. Compact and easy to sneak in to a "no cameras allowed" show too. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

There’s an interesting story behind Hendrix burning his guitar. Before all this had happened Hendrix and Pete Townsend flipped a coin to see who’d go on first (neither wanted to follow the other) Townsend won the toss and The Who went on first. Hendrix watched on as they destroyed their instruments during their amazing set, not to be outdone he put on an amazing set of his own, burning his guitar in the process

There’s a guy over on Pbase that has some pretty cool shots of people like Dylan and Joplin.


Wasn't the first shot a Rolling Stone cover too?

Jim Marshall has some great photos of that era. I dug around Google images and found one, of another Jim (in keeping with today's name and initials theme), I first saw...maybe 15-20 years ago. And what do you know, it had the same text attached to it--I clearly remembered Marshall explaining that he only had one exposure left on his roll and Jim Morrison called him over to take a photo of him. I can't imagine any self-respecting Rock 'n' Roll photogrpher turning down that request! :-D

If anyone knows what book this text (and photo) were in, please let me know.


PS: A mere $1,630 will get you that photo in 11x14 matted.

This is off-topic I suppose but Edward Taylor writes "concerts back then were completely different than today". That's true, but not quite in the way I think you mean. Obviously if you want to go and see someone like U2 it's going to be in some vast, soulless arena, and you won't be able to take pictures, or see at all in fact, and it will just generally be a horrible experience. But, actually, why would you want to see U2?

But there is another world - there are really a lot of bands who are not so famous (yet?) and you who play small venues. Some of them are good. Even if they aren't that good, you can stand a couple of yards from the band, and it will actually be a really enjoyable experience. Because there are now much better sound-level restrictions and PAs are better (much better) you will also be able to hear. And you can talk to them afterwards. And may be one time in 10 or 20 you'll see someone really good.

Most of them will let you take pictures (though you probably want to avoid your average truck-sized DSLR, and I will personally grind your camera into dust if you use a flash[*]).

And you don't have to be 18 to do this - I'm 45 (erm, 46?) - and it's cheap. Just Do It.

[*] I mean this. People who use flash at gigs should be forcibly ejected as a minimum and I think leaving their heads on stakes in prominent places would not be unreasonable.

Aside from having a great "eye" and instincts, Jim Marshall had virtually unlimited ACCESS...something that will never be the same with today's media-managed performers.

I've got a couple of Jim Marshall books, and they're worth every penny! Any pictures you can find of Jim at work generally show him with a couple of Leicas around his neck. And Jim only worked if he had unlimited access. I hope someday he writes his biography about those times.

Dear k4kafka,

As Tim pointed out, there is an awful lot you can do today in the way of performance photography even with major names, once you learn the ropes. And with the "minor talent" it can be remarkably easy. Especially if you start to build a working relationship (which Jim worked very hard at). I've been photographing the Flying Karamazov Brothers their whole career, and likely have the largest collection of good photographs of their performances. Not that it's going to make me rich. But, that's not why I do it.

Also, access was nowhere as easy in the "60s" as you might think. Most of the famous photographs of Jim's were made after these performers became Big Names and they were often made at major venues, where security could be extremely tight... and thuggish. Part of Jim's success is that he would not put up with that... and he could be a real terror, himself (still can). That combined with having working relationships with the performers.

In at least one case, he was told in no uncertain terms that he would not be getting uncontrolled photographic access to a performer and he simply said that if they didn't let him photograph on his terms he wasn't going to do it at all. And word got to the performer and the performer said that if Jim didn't get to photograph they weren't going to perform.

I'm sure there are times when Jim didn't win that battle. But he won it often enough.

I'm not saying it's easy today. It's doable.

It also does help to be one of the absolute best at what you do.

~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Dear James,

Thanks for the compliments... on the colors, I mean [ egotistical grin ]. I've been doing Jim's color printing in this century; Frog Prince did it last century.

Incidentally, you should take a look at the platinums on the website, too. Chris McCaw is absolutely the best platinum printer I've ever seen; you won't get an idea of how good the stuff is on a website. They are just amazing prints. Jim Marshall is possibly the luckiest photographer alive; he lives in the only city on the planet where there are dye transfer and platinum printers.

Re: media, Jim rarely crops, so you can distinguish the 35mm from the 2 1/4 square photographs usually by looking at the pictures. The 35mm color is Kodachrome. The medium format, Ektachrome.

For those of you who contemplate photographing in "available darkness," consider the photographs on Jim's website of the Who in concert (upper left on the dye transfer page), as well as the ones of Garcia, Hendrix and Redding.

Kodachrome. Available light. Be in awe. I am.

Another minor note of interest: the photograph of Janis and Grace is from the only known time that both of them were photographed together-- a unique session to the best of anyone's knowledge. There are a couple more really wonderful photographs from that session that I've printed that haven't been put online yet; only 1/2-2/3 of the color work is up.

~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

so how much does ctein want to make a dye transfer print then, and what is the biggest he can go >? I guess I should email him direct.....

I remember seeing the Jefferson Airplane when they were opening for Pete Seger and Joan Baez, performing stuff like "Tobacco Road" but I was maybe 7 at the time.

I did a lot of concert and club photography in the late 70s and early 80s, but not much since then except for photo's of my son's band until he got embarrassed by having his *father* shoot. Now he has *other* photographers who follow him.

S.O.P. in NYC clubs still seems to be to use flash, in fact one photographer who is always shooting my son sets up a few flashes on pocket wizards around the stage at venues like the Knitting factory and Webster hall. Maybe bigger venues are different.

Just for fun I shot a David Byrne concert Sunday night to go along with a father's day - things are different/the same as 30+ years ago seeing the Talking Heads at CBGB story I'm writing for a local paper. (put some up here)

I'd forgotten how much fun concert photography can be. I might even do it again. Obviously I didn't need a flash at *that* venue, but really it was a lot more relaxed than CBGB in 1976, no bruises the next morning at all.

Still miffed by the kid calling D.B. "spry" , I mean he's not much older than I am!

Speaking of Hendrix burning his guitar.

There is a great story about Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry playing a gig. It was Jerry Lee's tour , but that night Chuck Berry insisted that he didn't "open" for anyone. Jerry Lee Lewis played a particularly energetic set and for the last song poured gas on the piano, set it on fire, and then played his encore on the burning piano. As he left the stage he said to Chuck Berry "it's all yours"

Wow. I'm really impressed that all of the previous posters have such clear memories of concerts that occurred in the late 60's and early 70's. I certainly don't!! :D

At a late '60's SF outdoor concert of some sort, I was watching a Leica draped photographer very aggressively photographing everything in sight. Up on the small riser of a stage, a security guard was demanding that he leave, to which he objected (as in snarling, teeth baring). It was fascinating watching his belligerent, pre-violence body language, especially since, at that time, I was a snatch and run kind of photographer. Leaving the stage, he stopped after a few paces to sign a petition to save the cab drivers or whales or some such thing and I caught his name: Jim Marshall, his mother's son.

Ahhh, youth.........

I would like to second those comments made by Tim Bradshaw regarding music at small venues. I would argue that it is easier than ever to find great live music on the cheap, and almost always easy to photograph. Check the listings at your local clubs online, and if you haven't heard of whoever is playing, you can probably just click a link to their website to have a listen. I have stopped going to bigger shows, because I get so much more enjoyment out of a $10 show at a small venue than the bigger shows with higher price tags. I like to take my camera and shoot these because it is easy to get around and get close to the performers. It's also a great place to see what you can do with high iso capabilities of digital:


A lot of these bands are fairly well known if you follow music. I like to take photographs at these shows for fun, and I have never been hassled about using my camera (and I do bring out the big fast glass). I am often able to meet the performers out back and did so after a few of these shows - very accessible and approachable people. Several of these bands (Fleet Foxes and Okkervil River) were on their way to greater fame when I caught them at small venues. It's a shame to see so many people writing about how they missed their opportunity - there is so much AMAZING music going on now, you just won't hear it on the corporate owned radio stations. And I'll take my DSLRs capable of decent color at ISO 3200 and up over tri X any time thank you.

But, actually, why would you want to see U2?

No idea!

You just reminded me of the best years of my life...

Monterey, Newport, Joplin, Zeppelin, Young, Haight-Ashbury, Canon F1 and film............
I still shoot film but through a Blad.....but somehow the musics not the same... too bad.

Johnston, Mike okay by me too...

I especially like the iconic (Live Dead) pix of Jerry Garcia. The Dead End shot is one of the greats.
To this day I have a print made from an ektachrome slide I took of the great man as he attempted to gain access to the Onandaga War Memorial in Syracuse, NY in October 1971.
He said I could take it so long as I did not sell it to the Inquirer. I did not.

Another iconic Hendrix photograph, by the late Joe Sia:


Access Access Access does help. Since we are talking about music photography, I would like to point out that Amazon is selling "In the Spirit: The Photography of Michael P. Smith from the Historic New Orleans Collection" (Paperback). His photos have graced t-shirts and album covers and several books were published during his lifetimes (I have some of each including the cover of the Dancing Cat Professor Longhair CD with his picture in it). This book is essentially a catalog of the current exhibition of his photos at the New Orleans Collection (on Royal Street I believe) that is currently going on. He took so many images that have become iconic as well as pictures of life in New Orleans that tell many stories. He donated his entire negative collection and other items to the New Orleans Collction last year. If anyone goes to New Orleans in the next few months (I am not sure when the exhibit ends), do try to catch that.

Incidentally I was La Maison Française de Washington at the French Embassy to see a performance by Dr. Michael White and the Liberty Jazz Band with special guest Pacquito D'Rivera that is part of the Annual Duke Ellington Festival. There were some amazing B&W photographs of both jazz (Monk, Archie Shepp and Don Cherry) and pop icons (great shott of Robert Plant and Jimmy page). While I did not know who was the photgrapher last night, checking the French Embassy's website I found out they were by the late Philippe Gras. For those in DC, well worth to La Maison Française. The website with info on events there is http://la-maison-francaise.org/start.htm

A slight followup to my own comment. I think it's important that you actually go to listen to music: taking pictures should not be the primary aim. Others might differ of course, but my experience has been that people who go to take pictures and are not really interested in the music tend to just behave offensively because they aren't interested in others' enjoyment.

And I think that's the more important point: concerts - especially small ones - are social events: it is not fine to treat yourself as somehow more important than the other people there. That's why flash is so offensive: it is not funny to have someone set off a flash when your eye is fairly dark-adapted: it's distracting, for both performer and audience, and it leaves after-images which last for several minutes: I went to see the band, not some decaying splodge of after-image in my visual system.

(Of course there are photographers, including famous and very good ones, who clearly did (and do) just not care that they were spoiling the enjoyment of a lot of other people. See my previous comments about heads on stakes.)

If Marshall has a print of Grace famously hiking her skirt, I'm in.

For fans of early rock photography, there was a fine article at Digital Journalist in 2007 which featured photos by Henry Diltz for then upcoming book "California Dreaming". Great story of how he went from performer to photographer. The captions add a back story that was almost as enjoyable as the photography.


Jim Marshall is very good and likely the best known photographer from that time, but looking around the web, it seems to me that at least a dozen or more guys were 'in that space' (as we mean it today) backstage in the 1960s taking classic pictures, both in the US and the UK.

Mike these are three of my all time favorites. Nobody has been more original than Jimmy on guitar. A few others may be arguably as good but damn he had a sound all his own. Grace and Janice are two of my all time favorite female rock vocalists. (Add in Ann Wilson from Heart to make it a trio.) Nice to see these photos on your site.

Dear Mani,

Hard to say who's even the best known, let alone the best. Henry Diltz, for example, has an amazing list of famous photos to his credit, too.

"Best" is always elusive in the arts. There'd be no agreement on who is/was the best landscape, sports or portrait photographer. No reason there should be for rock music, either. But you can draw up a short list of the Truly Great, and get some consensus, and Jim's on that list.

pax / Ctein

The reason it hurts to see photos like the one above is that even though I was a photographer with great equipment, it never occurred to me to take a camera with me to any of these events.

I ocasionally work as a sound engineer. Last night I was doing the sound for a solo performance Patti Smith was doing at Farringford House (former home of Poet Alfred Tennyson).

I had my little Voigtlander Vito B with me as I had taken it on a walk earlier in the day.

I have never taken pictures at gigs I have been working at before but as I had a few frames left, I thought "why not?". I remembered this comment and decided to take a few.

I'm sure they will be awful as I was not in a good position and had ISO 400 film in low lighting but there's no harm having a go!

IN reply to Hugh's comment above about the David Byrne gig.

He played London a few weeks back, and the show was incredible. When he came on stage he motioned to the photographers at the front of the stage and said something along the lines of "these are the professional photographers and they'll be taking pictures for a while" He then went on to say that we, the audience could take as many pictures or video or whatever as we wanted and that, if we got any good ones, that we should "put them on flickr or something and create some kind of huge photo cloud" [i paraphrase heavily].

None of this "no cameras" stuff. "Take it - take it all - enjoy the concert" was the attitude.

The man is a genius and the show was astonishingly good: from the songs to the lights to the dancing to the band to the chat to the humour to the generosity to the tutu to the five encores. Stunning. Way to go Mr Byrne.

I was lucky enough to be in the front row, bouncing right off the front of the stage, so I took a couple of pictures on my mobile phone.... which was all I had.


Thanks to Hugh for taking me back to that fantastic evening.


The music world has become so fragmented now; no one today is going to be as iconic to their generation as these musicians from the 60s-70s are to a large chunk of the Boomer generation. Who are you going to shoot at these $10 shows? The latest iteration of Emo or shoe gazer chic? Big deal.

Robert P.: emailing him direct is simple and easy. You can also find a start at pricing on his website, look for "need fabulous prints" in the page at http://ctein.com/news.htm

Well, Kodachrome, available light, that is impressive. Thanks, Ctein. I've seen the dye transfer picture of Cream somewhere, possibly in one of their CD liner notes.

I met Janis Joplin backstage immediately after she and the rest of her Big Brother and the Holding Company band perfomed at Cal State Hayward College in the late 1960s, when I was in my mid teens, and since I didn't have my father's Leica M2 with me, I instead asked her why she was crying. With tears running down her face and with a bottle of Southern Comfort in her right hand, she responded: "I don't have anybody to love me and I'm so tired of performing night after night and going home alone." I quickly thought of Judy Garland in the same vein. Despite this, I her, "Janis, you are a remarkable performer and I truly wish you more self-esteem and somebody to lie with in the future. Thank you for such outstanding, wonderful entertainment on the stage here tonight".

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