This collection of photographs depicts the reality of the Haight in the late 1960s, beyond the mystique and the myth.
The Haight: Love, Rock, and Revolution, written by Joel Selvin, showcases the vivid photography of Jim Marshall, who took some of the most iconic posed and candid shots of musicians that shaped the counterculture revolution in San Francisco in the 1960s. Many of the black-and-white and color images have never been seen before. They are evocative, at times striking and shocking, exuding sorrow, joy, and excitement.
While there have been many news reports, films, and television series that portray or recreate the Haight of the ‘60s, Marshall’s images along with Selvin’s descriptions offer a somber, realistic account, rather than an idealized version. Being from San Francisco, Selvin explains, gave Marshall a keen ability to chronicle the time: “You can see the music in his photos.”
Selvin chronicles bands and musicians that were part of the cultural movement in the 1960s—Jefferson Airplane, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Grateful Dead, and more. Along with Marshall’s images, history is brought to life. Simple yet stark shots of legendary musicians demonstrate Marshall’s unprecedented access. It is also evident that Marshall saw the musicians in a unique way. Even posed shots seem candid; close-ups reveal unassuming facial expressions of these much-photographed artists. Janis Joplin looks happier and younger in these images, less gritty than in other, widely circulated photographs of the era.
Selvin’s descriptions provide important context for the images. For example, he explains, in contrast to the black attire and more serious tone of the earlier Beat movement, the hippie movement was colorful, spontaneous, and uninhibited. Marshall’s images powerfully bring this point to life through vibrant photographs of people wearing thrift-shop finds full of color.
Selvin celebrates Marshall’s prolific work by presenting never-before-seen images along with a historical account of the nonconformists who went to the Haight seeking an unconventional way of life and found a community of like-minded people.
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