Art & Design

January 9, 2017

Bob Marley in Jamaica: Rare ’70s Photos of the Rebel Rasta

Kingston, beachside and smoking spliffs

  • Written by Nadja Sayej

Most photos of Bob Marley capture him on stage, guitar and microphone in hand, but gorgeous, grainy, off-duty photos of the Jamaican reggae icon from 1973 are on view in London’s Dadiani Fine Art until the end of this week.

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Bob Marley: A Rebel Prophet, an exhibition by Esther Anderson – a Jamaican photographer and filmmaker who befriended Marley before his rise to fame – shows portraits he took of the singer pre-stardom in Kingston, at the beach, on the streets, at home. They were the images used as publicity photos to launch Marley’s career with Island Records.

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“My work is not pandering to those who know Bob Marley as a music icon,” said Anderson, 70, who found a kindred spirit in Marley when they first met in 1972. “My photographs reveal Marley beyond the bounds of a musician, as the messenger who could reach out to a global audience, a poet of past and future.”

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They capture his spirit as a freewheeling street poet in his crochet rasta cap, at peace with his hands in prayer and running down a beach under a cloudy sunset. One portrait shows Marley smoking a spliff, which adorns the cover of his Catch A Fire album, was more than just a marketing tool. “For the people, it was an emblem of amnesty and freedom,” said Anderson. “Long live the power of the image, that’s what the photographs have for me.” 

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Bob Marley: A Rebel Prophet, photos by Ether Anderson at Dadiani Fine Art in London until 16th January. dadianifineart.com

Credits:

All photos courtesy Esther Anderson and Dadiani Fine Art

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