From Miles Davis to The Beatles and from Bob Dylan to The Rolling Stones. They all changed the music world forever in their unique way. Another element that they have in common is the fact that they were photographed multiple times by very prominent and talented photographer Jim Marshall.
After capturing spectacular pictures for decades, Marshall has now become the intriguing subject of director Alfred George Bailey (“Gregory Porter Don’t Forget Your Music”) his latest documentary or better said rockumentary. “Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall” turns out to be a captivating, wonderful, and gorgeous portrait of one of the most rock and roll photographers the world has ever known.
We all know the people in front of the camera and now we got to meet the man behind it. Born into an immigrant family in 1930s Chicago, James Joseph Marshall was of Syrian Catholic origin, and from a very young age, photography was his passion. He was always caring around a camera which resulted in making a photography scrapbook.
Life wasn’t always rock ‘n roll for Marshall, especially not at the beginning. Both he and his mother had a troubled relationship with his distant and abusive father. The documentary takes you back and forth from the ’60s to Marshall’s death in 2010 and shows us both the ups and downs of the life of this magnificent photographer.
It seems that the dark side of life he encountered during his early years will follow him until his death, especially because of his love for guns and drugs.
Bailey is telling this enthralling story in a non-linear way by using footage of Marshall talking about his career as well as interviews with the people who knew him inside out. We hear and see the likes of his former assistant Amelia Davis, friends, musicians, fellow photographers, and many experts. At moments, it might seem a little bit turbulent and tumultuous but hey so was Marshall’s life itself.
Like any rockumentary, “Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall”. Well, what do you expect knowing that Marshall goes incredibly close to the musical gods? The soundtrack of this documentary includes songs from Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and Bob Dylan.
The shot of Johnny Cash at San Quentin flipping off the camera with a sneer on his face? Work by the hand of Marshall. Miles Davis in a boxing ring? Yep, that picture is also part of Marshall’s portfolio too. Don’t forget those incredible shots of the Beatles playing their last live concert in the Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Saying that Marshall captured some of the most striking images of Rock-n-Roll legends would be a massive understatement.
After being part of the film festivals such as SXSW, SFFILM Festival and Doc’n Roll Film Festival, “Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall” is now available via Amazon (DVD and video on demand).
Yes, during some brief moments this documentary feels like a bad acid trip but luckily most of the time, it’s a compelling portrait of an extremely talented and influential photographer who made a massive impact on both the photography and music industry.
4th May 2020
Alfred George Bailey