Bob Marley and The Golden Age of Reggae

Book Reviews | Nov 28th, 2010

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Author: Kim Gottlieb-Walker, Jeff Walker, Cameron Crowe, Roger Steffens
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Music Photography
Pages: 160 pages
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You don’t have to be a reggae fan to enjoy Bob Marley and The Golden Age of Reggae. Just being a fan of music and music photography will suck you into this hardcover book from Titan Books.

This book showcases the wonderful, and rare photos of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and others of from influential music/film photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker. Many of these shots were taken in the 70s, during trips to Jamaica or during US tours. Acclaimed rock journalist and director Cameron Crowe wrote an interesting introduction on going to Jamaica with Kim and her husband/publicist/journalist Jeff Walker. Many of the photographs haven’t been seen by the public before, and reggae fans will really appreciate the photos. The book isn’t just a collection of rare Bob Marley photos, you also get stories behind some of the photographs and you get to know a little bit more about the reggae musicians & bands Kim photographed. Besides Cameron Crowe’s introduction, you get interesting commentary and analysis from Jeff Walker and Roger Steffens.

Being a music photographer myself, I really enjoyed looking through these candid and documentary style shots of Bob and the others. Honestly, I never heard of Kim until this book but I’m just clueless about most influential music photographers except Jim Marshall and Bob Gruen. Kim also was a still photographer for movies and TV series like Cheers, Family Ties, Halloween, Escape From New York and others. I liked the stories behind some of the shots, and how tough it was shoot Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and especially Bunny Wailer sometimes. Each musicians is enigmatic & mysterious, but they all opened up to Kim and her husband Jeff during the 70s. The fact that they cracked a smile to the camera was a major win in their minds. Kim captured their personalities quite well in these photographs,and it’s something all photographers strive for. I would have liked to have seen more live photographs of The Wailers and other reggae bands in this book though. I’m a live music photographer and appreciate that side of things the most. That’s not to say the portraits aren’t special, they are! What makes Kim’s photos stand out is the usage of nature light and everything wasn’t really used with that much lighting. That’s the way I would have done it; simply because I just don’t know all that much about studio lighting.

Besides rare photos of Marley, Tosh and Wailer, you get nice shots of Toots and the Maytals, Jacob Miller, Inner Circle, Third Word, Lee Scratch Perry, Burning Spear, Heptones and more! There’s also a nice shot of George Harrison meeting Bob Marley for the first time back stage. What a shot to get!

This book is definitely worth a read and won’t take you too long since it’s only 160 pages. A lot of the pages have big photographs on them as well. Check this out and if you’re interested in Kim Gottlieb-Walker after this, visit her website here.

Bottom Line: A book for reggae and Bob Marley lovers, as well as music photography lovers.
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