The Rolling Stones 1972
I write this from the Photoplus Expo trade show in New York City, where Jim Marshall, when he was in attendance, was a fixture at the Leica booth. Scores of enthusiastic photographers, established and aspiring, circled around him and asked about light readings and shutter speeds and what it was like to photograph Jimi or Janis or Keith.
Jim was always happy to answer questions, especially about photography—he fell for the camera early and it became his most enduring love affair.
When, in February of 2011, I began working with Amelia Davis, sole beneficiary of Jim Marshall’s estate, on an edit of his photographs of the Rolling Stones, I did everything I could to recreate the moments I’d had in conversation with Jim. I needed, and possessed, his voice in my head as I looked through frame after frame of each contact sheet, noting those he had marked but not printed, taking down numbers of some extraordinary moments he had not marked at all.
And then the dialogue began. I’d pull an image and hear, “F you Dunn Marsh! No way you’re putting that in.” Or his happy cackle when sequences 2-3 frames in a row were all gems and I couldn’t choose between them so kept all three. I read what he’d written in Proof about Keith in the studio or Mick on the plane, and whatever I could find about the ’72 tour to see what others had to say about Jim. More F bombs and cackles in my head as I recounted these quotes to him in the great beyond.
The second printing of The Rolling Stones 1972 is now in stock, though the book was released only ten weeks ago. What I have enjoyed the most in watching people look through the book is their amazement at the photographs, and their somewhat unconscious gesture of running their fingers across the page of the black and white images and exclaiming how rich it looks. Art photography books have been produced this way for decades, but to see music lovers notice too has been gratifying and in keeping with the bar of excellence we seek to maintain regarding Jim’s work.
The Stones will be performing in London and New Jersey in the coming weeks, and the fire and energy of the performances Jim captured 40 years ago will reignite. Photographs from The Rolling Stones 1972 will be on display at the 02 and Snap Gallery in London, and remain on view at EMP Museum in Seattle through January 2013. A gallery exhibition opened a few weeks ago at the San Francisco Art Exchange.
I can hear Jim right now, as I make my way toward the Leica booth, this time saying, “Cool, man.” I think so too.
Michelle Dunn Marsh
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