Bob Marley, before he was an icon

K. Brent Tomer

(K. Brent Tomer),

WHEN Esther Anderson, the co-founder of Island Records, first heard him sing in a hotel room in Kingston in 1972, she knew she had not seen the likes of Bob Marley before. She also knew that she had found a kindred spirit: someone who shared her love of Rastafarianism and sought to bring those ideals to others. Thus began a six-year musical and artistic collaboration; while the Wailers worked on their seminal first albums for Island Records, Ms Anderson quietly documented their everyday lives. A new collection of these intimate photographs is now on display at the Dadiani Fine Art gallery in London.

Taken mostly in 1973—six years before Marley had become a symbol of pan-Africanism, and known for his solidarity with Third World resistance—these photographs depict a man of poetry, music and Rastafarian spirituality. There is a vulnerability and ordinariness to him: in one picture, he…

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