Jim Morrison Exposed? True Story of the Infamous Miami Concert and Trial

Jim Morrison’s Miami Concert & Trial 1969-70  Original. Photographs by David E. LeVine
Jim Morrison’s Miami Concert & Trial 1969-70 Original. Photographs by David E. LeVine

It was 1969 and I was a twenty year old photographer interested in doing special effects; the market of choice for the times was rock. Doing rock photography meant you could be as expressive and creative as the musicians themselves. There was only one problem – all of the “action” was in L.A. and New York and I was stuck in Miami.

At the Door’s concert I was ushered right in. I remember I was at the foot of the stage, the lighting was terrible (another thing that has changed). Being a lover of available lighting, I almost never use a flash; I feel the shots are always more real that way. The Doors started to play and boy were they bad, off tune and all. The band started to get rowdy and the crowd soon followed, charging the stage and almost crushing me. Mayhem ensued and that concert went down in rock history. I remember thinking that if I had paid $7.50 for a ticket I would have been really pissed off.

In an effort to perfect my craft, I attended every rock concert that I could con my way into. If you showed up at the stage door with several cameras around your neck it was a given that you were a professional and the door was opened, no questions asked. Of course this was before they banned the audience from photographing the concert.

When I developed the film (I always souped my own stuff) it was extremely underexposed. The light had been very low and I had only used an ASA 400 film. I had to use chemical intensifier on the negatives to bring out the detail; I hadn’t yet perfected my push processing technique of attaining ASA 16,000. The shots looked great – I had one of Morrison with his hand in his pants, but my favorite was the one of him with the lamb.

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