Bobby Klein's best photograph: Jim Morrison has a beer for breakfast

We smoked a load of hash and listened to Sgt Pepper’ … Jim Morrison of the Doors in 1967. Photograph: Bobby Klein
We smoked a load of hash and listened to Sgt Pepper’ … Jim Morrison of the Doors in 1967. Photograph: Bobby Klein
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY THOMAS HOBBS AND PUBLISHED BY THE GUARDIAN ON FEBRUARY 28, 2018.

I was the first official photographer of the Doors, and this shot was taken early on. It was 1967 and we were heading to Venice Beach to take some publicity shots but got hungry, so Jim recommended stopping off at Lucky U Cafe, his favorite place in Los Angeles to grab breakfast. It was a tiny Mexican restaurant owned by a Chinese man, pretty much just a counter with no tables. Jim ordered a beer and a menudo—a beef and chili soup—to line his stomach. It wasn’t uncommon to see him sink six beers in an hour.

I’ve always enjoyed shooting people when they’re eating because it creates an intimacy. So I got behind the counter and started snapping away. Jim was beautiful. He looked like Michelangelo’s David. He was checking me out: “Who the hell is this guy?” He didn’t suffer fools, and this was early on in our relationship. There’s an intensity in his eyes: he was totally serious about being seen as a credible poet.

In the car back home, Jim and the rest of the band heard Break on Through—their debut single—on the radio for the first time and everyone cheered. They got an inkling of what it would be like to have a hit.

Jim was irreverent and mischievous. One time we were shooting outside and he suddenly disappeared. He came back with this cheeky smile and I took his picture. Only later, when I got the photos developed, did I realize what he had been doing: he’d hidden behind a tree, got himself aroused and, through his trousers, was pointing his erection right at my camera.

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