Sometimes, though not often, a single person represents an entire movement. In reggae, the undisputed giant in the genre was Bob Marley. Having succumbed to cancer in 1981, he has continued to cast a very long shadow. This is photographer David Burnett's homage to the musician, a beautiful and artistic compilation
put together just a few years prior to Marley's death. Burnett, a photojournalist who has shot everything from wars to presidents, displays these photos for the first time.
These images were captured at the nexus of Marley's career, when he left his native Jamaica after an attempt on his life and found his musical star rising in the rock heavens. There are approximately 200 images here, and only a few have been previously published in an article for
Though Bob is the focus here, peripheral shots include portraits of Lee "Scratch" Perry, Burning Speark, Ras Michael, and Peter Tosh. A combination of black and white and color selections are presented in Soul Rebel, remarkable moments capturing the reggae chief in quiet repose, on stage, enjoying a spliff, in the recording studio, in domestic scenes, and much more.
Says Burnett about his subject:
"I was a stranger covering him for an international news publication. Marley was especially hospitable and very forthcoming. We sat for a couple of hours speaking about everything from politics, to music, and the whole scene in Jamaica, and why it would give birth to a movement like reggae. His suspicion of politicians kind of mirrored my own, though his view was colored by the hard times he'd known growing up in Trenchtown. In a way, that is the beauty of his music, that from such harsh beginnings came such spiritual understanding and musical poetry."