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Jim Shive and His Amazing Archive: Getting to Know the Man Behind the Camera

...and directly from Jim to our readers, a very special Darkness@45 Cyber-Monday-and-beyond discount offer on limited-edition prints purchases! (Read below for the details.)

Springsteen/rock photographer Jim Shive, in the 20th century (circa mid-1970s) and in the 21st (@ SiriusXM's studios)

November 27, 2023

Jim's 1978 Springsteen photograph featured on the cover of THE LIGHT IN DARKNESS

Many fans already are familiar with the stellar work of photographer James Shive, and with his amazing archive, which includes beautiful and historic photos of Bruce Springsteen and other legendary rockers. Jim's photography was featured regularly at Backstreets Magazine and at the website. More than 500 of Jim's photographs of Springsteen and other artists have been acquired by The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Library and Archives. His images have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, CREEM, Circus, Relix, on VH1, and on the cover of the fan-favorite book The Light in Darkness. Jim's also been a featured guest on SiriusXM's E Street Radio, and in 2011, he launched his own website, where thousands of his photographs can be viewed and purchased as high-quality prints.

Letters To You recently connected with Jim Shive. We thought it would be cool for our readers to get to know a bit more about the man behind the camera. Jim not only was kind enough to talk with us, but with this 45th-anniversary year of the Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour quickly drawing to its close, and the holiday gift-giving season upon us once more, Jim has created a very special offer for any of our readers who may be looking for something special for the Springsteen fan(s) in your life, and/or even for yourself!

Jim started photographing Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band in concert in 1974, about a year after he first became interested in photography while still a high-school student. "I guess, growing up in Jersey," Jim told us, "Bruce and the Asbury Park scene became something near and dear to me. My wife Mary Ann and I spent a lot of time in Asbury Park at The Stone Pony, The Fast Lane, and all the other clubs. We met and got to know a lot of the up-and-coming bands from that time. I also photographed several of them, and was fortunate to catch Bruce and various members of the E Street Band in action at some of those smaller clubs over the years."

JT in '73, from the first concert that Jim photographed

Meanwhile, Jim's budding interest in photography, especially in rock-concert photography, had mushroomed into a very successful and exciting career. And it all began in 1973, before he even had his own camera and equipment. "Receiving my first camera in 1974," he told us, "I photographed a few other shows prior to that with borrowed cameras before I had my own. The very first show was James Taylor. I also shot Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which has been one of my top-sellers over the years in limited edition prints.

CSN&Y, one of Jim's all-time best-selling prints

I eventually expanded into other acts because I always seem to have tickets in the first couple of rows, and went to a lot of concerts. Once I had a small archive of images that were of quality similar to what I saw in magazines, I knew that there would be opportunities for me to get published. It was actually my wife - my girlfriend at the time - who suggested that I reach out to [long-standing NJ-based music publication] The Aquarian with my images. And within two weeks I had a cover. I started receiving lists and requests from publications, and started making contact with editors and publicists and record companies to get better access, a photo pass, or sometimes they would just give you a ticket in the front row."

As the years went by, Jim and Mary Ann's young son Ian occasionally would join them at some of the concerts that Jim photographed. "I remember him being maybe five or six years old and sitting in the front by the aisle," Jim recalled recently. These days, Ian Shive is an award-winning nature photographer and film/television producer. "As crazy as it sounds," noted Jim, "he didn't see Bruce Springsteen in concert until The River Tour 2016."

Not surprisingly, Springsteen's 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town, and the tour that accompanied it, still holds a very special place in Jim's heart all these years later, as it does for so many other Springsteen fans. "So many of the songs on this album have become the foundation of a lot of the live shows over the years. Many of them also stand out as moments that were very explosive and energetic on stage and help make for some great photographs."

To help close out the 45th-anniversary celebration-year of Bruce Springsteen's classic album and tour in style, Jim has a very special offer for Letters To You readers who are interested in purchasing one or more prints from his "The Darkness Editions" collection at The Shive Archive website. Using the coupon code LETTERS when you check out, you'll receive a 15% discount on each and every Giclee Limited Edition print that you order!

We also are honored to have Jim do one of his custom "takeovers" of our social-media sites, just like he used to do back in the heyday of the Backstreets website. Throughout the 2023 holiday gift-giving season, keep an eye out for various spotlights on Jim's beautiful photography from the '78 Darkness Tour, and a reminder on how you can purchase limited-edition prints during the gift-giving season with our special Letters To You discount code. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds.


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