While you probably wouldn't have recognized him if you bumped into him on Haight Street, the late great Jim Marshall is every bit the legend of 1960s and '70s San Francisco as Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin.
With his chosen instrument, a Leica camera, he immortalized the music icons of our counterculture movement, and whether or not you know Marshall's name, if you've ever seen a picture from Woodstock, you know his work. Marshall was the undisputed father of rock and roll photography.
But, as an upcoming exhibit at San Francisco Art Exchange reveals, this lensman to the stars was also captivated by street culture and by the peace movement of the day, and Marshall captured many a peace sign (and protest) during his wanderings around the Bay Area and beyond. He archived the images, catalogued only by an index card scrawled with a peace symbol; they went unnoticed and unpublished until now.
Peace: Photographs by Jim Marshall, opening October 20th, spotlights his never-before-seen photographs of peace signs. Whether tagged on a Telegraph Avenue storefront or on a particularly chilling Nazi-esque arm band at a peace walk in Golden Gate Park, the images are certainly breathtaking as freeze-frames of our history, but they are downright staggering in their stark evocation of the current political moment. (Note the proper elderly woman standing on a bench with protest signs at her feet, including one that reads "No on the Travel Ban.")
The exhibit celebrates the release of the 10th book to carry the photographer's name, Peace (Reel Art Press), with a foreword by famed street artist Shepard Fairey and afterward by folk legend Joan Baez.
"[The images] showcase an idea rather than pictures of famous musicians, scenesters, or politicians, and the artful nature of the images indicate that Marshall saw the role of the peace signs as a crucial character or protagonist within the culture," Fairey said.
See for yourself in the slideshow below.
// Peace: Photographs by Jim Marshall opens with a public reception (6:30-8:30pm) on Oct. 20 at San Francisco Art Exchange, 458 Geary St. (Union Square), sfae.com; to RSVP, call 415.441.8840.