‘The Haight: The Photography of Jim Marshall’: A Review
Jim Marshall was no hippie.
To his credit, Marshall, the foremost rock photographer of the San Francisco scene, cast a cold eye on the wondrous goings on he documented, the better to capture, and share, Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moments.”
Best known for iconic shots — Johnny Cash extending his middle finger to guards at San Quentin, Dylan kicking a tire down a West Village street — this new collection of largely unpublished material is a treasure trove of visual reporting on the brave new psychedelic world.
Whether it’s shots of Jerry Garcia and his intrepid crew playing for — and blending with — the Haight Street crowds, a be-robed Allen Ginsberg ecstatically waving to the masses at the Human Be-In, John Lennon and San Francisco Chronicle scribe Ralph J. Gleason backstage at Candlestick Park or soul brothers Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix conferring at the Monterey Pop fairgrounds, Marshall had an uncanny knack for being at the center of the action without ever losing his perspective — or his talent.
Photos: © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
See a sample slideshow at this link.
His observant eye looked beyond the pages of Rolling Stone, capturing baffled tourists trying to understand the surprising scene, the exuberance of Krishna parade devotees bearing ceremonial replicas of deities from Haight Street to Ocean Beach, and the odd, ill-fated alliance between Hells Angel icons like Freewheeling Frank and their equally freewheeling hippie pals.
Veteran rock journalist Joel Selvin’s accompanying text explores the backstory, with tidbits on how Bill Graham toppled Family Dog communard Chet Helms, and Janis Joplin laid down the law to ensure that her historic Monterey Pop gig was filmed, over the band’s objections.
But the pictures speak for themselves.
It was a time when the world changed — and then changed again, as it always has.
But Jim Marshall never blinked. His aim was true.
The Haight: Love, Rock, and Revolution
The Photography of Jim Marshall
(Insight Editions; 296 pages; $50)
This story originally published by Paul Wilner for SFGate.