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December 8, 2023

Stunning Studio Portraits of Jim Morrison Taken by Guy Webster, 1966

One of the early innovators of rock-and-roll photography, renowned photographer Guy Webster has spanned the worlds of music, films and politics in a stellar 40-year career. While shooting album covers and billboards for groups that included The Rolling Stones, The Mamas and the Papas, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Doors, Simon & Garfunkel and Chicago, he also photographed such film legends as Rita Hayworth, Dean Martin and Natalie Wood.

“At our first session, the band arrived without an entourage – no assistants, no one from the record label, and no manager,” Webster recalled. “They were so cooperative and couldn’t have been nicer. A group’s first shooting is so important because they’ll do what you ask. After they’re successful, watch out. And then there was my introduction to Jim Morrison.

‘Guy it’s Jim.’

‘You know me?’

‘Guy, we went to UCLA together.’

‘Oh my God, Jim!’ We’d been in the philosophy department reading Nietzsche. He was my college friend. He must have lost 20 or 30 pounds and let his hair grow.

“And I said, ‘Shit. I didn’t know you were a singer or poet.’ I was shocked. Jim was wearing a bad hippie shirt he’d probably gotten on the boardwalk in Venice. And so I continued on, ‘Jim, I have to be honest with you. That shirt looks so bad. You’re a beautiful guy; I just saw you onstage. Let me make you into a god. Take off your shirt.'”

(Photos by © Guy Webster)

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