I don’t buy coffee table books, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t own a coffee table. I’ve always considered them kind of lazy literature, all show and no tell. My thinking has evolved, and I have Jim Marshall and Timothy White to blame. Marshall and White are celebrity photographers of differing styles and similar minds. Their creative genius is on display in a book called “Match Prints.” You should get a copy.

Jim Marshall was a renowned music photographer for decades, capturing iconic images at such ground-breaking music events as Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival. The kind of pictures that were so real you could feel the throb of the bass through the speakers, smell the patchouli sweat of the crowd, and hear Jimi or Keith or Janis or Shelley say, “Did you get that, Jim?” after the shutter clicked. When asked about his technique, Marshall said, “My forte is just hanging and taking candids.”

 Timothy White’s work has graced countless magazines and movie posters and album covers. His images are a different kind of real, a heightened sense of real, that doesn’t happen by accident. Familiar faces in unfamiliar places where social graces sometimes don’t apply. It looks effortless but it isn’t. Said White,” I take my subject and the immediate environment into consideration and create a scenario. My reaction to the surrounding circumstances is the picture I take.”

How did two such different people get together to make one amazing book? White and Marshall were friends who discovered in their work, similarities in subjects and imagery. Simply put, same people, similar poses. “Match Prints” puts these incredible photographs side by side. Sometimes it’s the same person, shot 30 years apart. Sometimes it’s different people, shot in similar surroundings. Whatever the situation, they’re just damn good photographs of people you know in ways you may not know them.

Portraiture is my favorite kind of photography and I now own my first coffee table book, complete with a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor flipping the double bird. Now tell me that’s not one worth breaking your own rules for. Next thing you know, I’ll be pricing coffee tables.

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Comments
  1. My coffee table books are of Ireland and Scotland. I like yours even better!

  2. I can sell you a coffee table real cheap – LOL! Now I’ve got to check this book out, thanks alot!

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