The life of a symbol, in the streets and on the subway—a plea for a peaceful world
Jim Marshall: Peace collects the beloved photographer’s previously unseen “peace” photographs, taken mainly between 1961 and 1968. Photographing across America, Marshall charted the life of a symbol, documenting how the peace sign went from holding a specific anti-nuclear meaning to serving as a broad, internationally recognized symbol for peace. Marshall captured street graffiti in the New York subway, buttons pinned to hippies and students, and West Coast peace rallies held by a generation who believed, for a brief moment, they could make a difference.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) symbol, also known as the peace sign, was designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom for the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. When the design spread from the UK to the American anti-war campaign, it caught the eye of Marshall, who saw himself as an anthropologist and journalist documenting the changing times of the 1960s. In between official assignments, Marshall started photographing the symbol and peace rallies as a personal project. He tabled these images on an index card in his archives labeled “Peace,” where they remained, until now.
Born in Chicago, Jim Marshall (1936–2010) grew up in San Francisco, teaching himself photography by portraying musicians in the coffeehouses of North Beach. After a brief stint in New York, Marshall returned to San Francisco, where he continued to cement his reputation as a formidably talented music photographer. Marshall holds the distinction of being the only photographer ever honored by the Grammys with a Trustees Award for his life’s work.
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