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Monday, February 23, 2009

Illustrious S.F. Rock Photographer Profoundly -- and Profanely -- Glad to Settle Lawsuit Over Million-Dollar Archive

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 7:26 AM


Late last month, we wrote about how San Francisco photographer Jim Marshall -- whose cry of "Hey, Johnny, how 'bout one for the warden?" resulted in the above iconic shot of the Man in Black -- filed suit in S.F. federal court against Bill Graham Archives to recover 656 of his prints of rock and jazz legends. The photographer claimed the collection has an assessed value of $1,000,500.

Marshall now tells SF Weekly that he's reached a settlement with Wolfgang's Press, the company that owns Bill Graham Archives. Marshall allowed Wolfgang's Press owner Bill Sagan to pick 100 of his favorite prints and Marshall took back the rest. The above image of Cash and four others from the concert at Folsom Prison -- as well as shots of Janis, the Beatles, and others -- are among the prints Sagan selected.

Marshall's suit claimed Sagan was illegally holding onto -- and selling -- the prints after the parties' agreement expired months ago. Yet Marshall said he agreed to the settlement due to mounting legal bills ($40,000 and counting) and utter exhaustion. "We filed in state and federal court, but I just wanted it fucking done. I wanted it out of my fucking life -- give him the fucking prints and be finished with it," the septuagenarian photographer said with a laugh.

Sagan refused to comment on the settlement. Marshall's attorney, Andy Stroud, said he had a signed agreement between the two parties sitting in his briefcase, and he planned to file the paperwork dismissing the photographer's state and federal suits as early as today. "In my mind, it's a done deal," the lawyer said.

According to Marshall, Sagan now has the rights to sell the famous prints, but cannot publish them. "There was no legal reason for me to give him the prints," the photographer continued. "But I just wanted the whole fucking thing to be over with." 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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