Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Man in Black and White

I've often wondered when Mojo or Uncut would get around to it, but they have as you can see : Johnny Cash on the cover. The accompanying CD is covers of Cash songs, on first look the one that jumps out immediately is Michelle Shocked doing -- wait for it -- One Piece At A Time! And in the mag itself there are a huge number of pages devoted to The Man, written by Sylvie Simmons who I know interviewed him often and spent time with him in Hendersonville just before his death. More tomorrow after get a chance to devour it.

The article is also illustrated with many famous Jim Marshall shots, which neatly segues into a review of the photographer's new book. Thanks to Steve, sounds like another one for the Christmas list:

I received Jim Marshall's new photo book yesterday titled Proof.

It's an interesting display of some his famous as well as more recent photographs.

Jim Marshall is the photographer that shot the now famous Cash flipping the bird photo.

In this book Marshall displays a number of his recognizable photos on one page and on the facing page, he displays the contact sheet of that roll of negatives. A small bit of information is given about the photo shoot and why the picture that was used was selected. So the contact sheets gives you an insight into what was going on during the time the "famous" photo was shot.

The famous Cash/bird photo is displayed along with the contact sheet. Marshall explains in the text that Cash had just finished the sound check for the San Quentin show. As Cash approached Marshall, Marshall said he asked Cash for a shot for the warden. Cash spontaneously flipped the bird. The contact sheet shows a number of shots leading up to the flipping of the bird, showing a lot of typical sound check scenes - standing around waiting, discussing, performing and so on. There are three different negatives of Cash flipping the bird with various people and activity going on in the background.

Also in this book is the photo of Cash at Folsom that is well known and was used for the Folsom picture sleeve. A number of the shots on the contact sheet recently appeared in the book about the Folsom Prison Blues project.

The picture of Kristofferson that was used in the liner notes of Jesus was a Capricorn (Kris on the edge of a hotel bed putting his shoes on) is displayed as well and the contact sheet really gives a glimpse of Kris' life at the time. Several shots of Kris sitting at a table drinking from a bottle and smoking. Marshall said it really was an example of "Sunday Morning Coming Down."

A recent photo is of Billy Bob Thorton - flipping the bird. The photo shoot was shortly after Cash's death. Marshall had learned that Billy Bob was a collector of Marshall's photography and prior to Cash's death, Billy Bob had gotten to know Cash. For the photo shoot Billy Bob reenacted the Cash/bird photo.

My only complaint about the book is that the contact sheets are actual size and with my middle aged eyes, I need a magnifying glass to truly appreciate all the photos on the contact sheets.

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