Jim Marshall’s Intimate Images of Legendary Musicians

The only photographer allowed backstage at the Beatles’ final concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park and the primary photographer at the legendary Woodstock music festival, Jim Marshall carved out a reputation as one of the best documentarians of the diverse and dynamic American music scene of the ’60s and ’70s. From pictures of Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop to Johnny Cash performing for enthusiastic audiences at Folsom and San Quentin prisons, Marshall had his lens on the counterculture that inspired one of the last revolutions to totally sweep the world.

“I worked hard but I never really considered it work,” Marshall has said. “I always enjoyed myself and only took an assignment if I had complete control and access. My reputation was such that managers didn’t f*ck with me. I had the trust of the artist. I would work with them and they knew I wouldn’t f*ck around or do anything they didn’t like.”

Marshall passed away in 2010, but his legendary work still lives on — with a lot of his documentary shots getting visibility for the first time since they were frozen on film. A striking solo show of pictures from his intimate interactions with such jazz greats as Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, and John Coltrane; influential folk singers of the day, including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan; and fabled rock ‘n’ roll stars that defined the era, counting Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, and The Who, opens today at New York’s Steven Kasher Gallery. A new monograph, published by Chronicle Books, engagingly captures Marshall’s photos of the Rolling Stones 1972 recording session for the Exile on Main Street album and the band’s monumental US tour — 40 years after the fact and 50 years after the group got its start. Click through to view some of the Stones photos, along with other amazing pictures snapped by the magical Marshall during that time.

Mick Jagger, Los Angeles, 1972. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC, Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York