Directed by Alexandria Jackson, Sophie and the Baron is a sweet documentary about an intergenerational friendship that developed into a unique artistic collaboration. Baron Wolman was Rolling Stone’s first chief photographer. Throughout the 1970s he captured iconic images of Woodstock and performers like Johnny Cash, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, just to mention the Js! Sophie Kipner is an artist who specializes in blind contouring. For Wolman photograph was a means of quieting the chaos. For Kipner, blind drawing was a way to get out of the way of her own artistic expression. These two artists unite in a one-on-one collaboration where Kipner reimagines Wolman’s photographs through her unique art style.
Sophie and the Baron is simply a delight! And I would love to see a full-length documentary on Baron Wolman’s career.
Sophie and the Baron had its world premiere at the virtual 2021 SXSW Film Festival. Visit the official website of the film for more information.
“These people have let you into their lives… to violate that trust is criminal.”
Jim Marshall (1936-2010)
In Jim Marshall’s illustrious career as the photographer to the stars, he captured some of the most enduring images of Rock-n-Roll legends. He elevated artists with quality photographs, capturing their images with a level of intimacy that required trust and an attention to detail that signaled respect. And that’s what these artists had with Jim Marshall, a mutual admiration. The musicians offered him their vulnerability and he in return showcased them as the rock stars they were.
In director Alfred George Bailey’s new documentary, Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall, we learn about the man behind the camera. From his early days making a photography scrapbook, to his legendary career as a celebrity photographer, this film charts the ups and downs of this talented yet difficult man’s life. It includes footage of Marshall reminiscing about his career as well as interviews with the people who knew him best including his former assistant Amelia Davis, fellow photographers, friends, musicians and a variety of experts. Notable talking heads include actor Michael Douglas (Marshall was an on-set photographer for the show The Streets of San Francisco) and Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Who did Jim Marshall photograph exactly? Everybody. In the documentary we learn about his work with some of the following artists:
The Grateful Dead
Crosby, Stills and Nash
The Rolling Stones
“Jim had an eye for the moment.”
The biggest takeaway from this film is not the legends Marshall collaborated with, although that is pretty interest too, but the analysis of what it took for him to do his job and to do it well. We learn about how a photographer relates to his subject. Marshall was an active and passive participant. He blended in seamlessly with the scene yet was not afraid to plant himself into the personal space of his subjects.
“He died like a fucking rock star.”
Jim Marshall was quite a character himself. His love of guns and his drug use got him into trouble. And his temperamental personality often ostracized those near and dear to him. There is a dark side to every great artist and Marshall was no exception. Yet his body of work speaks for itself.
Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall is a compelling portrait of a difficult man with great talent who made an impact on the careers of the 20th century rock stars we know and love.
Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall screened at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival as part of their 24 Beats Per Second series.