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Rock And Roll Stories - Lynn Goldsmith

Author: Lynn Goldsmith
Review by Michael Sherer on December 15, 2013 at 2:34 am
Publisher: Abrams books

Lynn Goldsmith’s first and clear choice for subject matter to photograph is musicians. She’s been capturing them in a compelling and candid fashion for fifty years. (Goldsmith has a photo of hers published of the legs and feet of the Beatles in their Cuban-heeled boots in ‘64, at the height of Bealtlemania.)

Goldsmith’s newly issued 399 page, large-sized hardcover book is the most complete retrospective of her work yet. The cover dons a striking image of her then live-in boyfriend Bruce Springsteen. It was snapped in ‘78, by which time Springteen had become a major star since breaking through three years prior with his Born To Run record. The leather jacket he’s wearing is Goldsmith’s, and after she had sold off some of her clothing in ’96, which included the jacket, it wound up in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. This was unbeknownst to Goldsmith until later. (Springsteen, by the way, felt it had too many studs and was too ostentatious for his taste.)

Born in Detroit in ’48, Goldsmith started photographing as a child after her father, who was photographing and had a darkroom himself, gave her a Baby Brownie camera and later a superior Isola one. Goldsmith used them earnestly to photograph her first subjects: Dolls and her family. Some of these images appear in the first pages of her new book.

Goldsmith relocated to NYC in ’69, where her older sister Ellen was living. Although Goldsmith was seriously into photography, the passion for the medium and art would escalate further in the imminent years to follow. First to come were short stints at Elektra Records in their promotional department and then as co-manager of Grand Funk Railroad, with the late Andy Cavaliere. When Goldsmith walked away from that role in the early ‘70s, she carried with her some disillusionment with being involved with the business side of things. This helped Goldsmith to crystallize the realization that it was photography that served as her guiding light and muse, and she pursued it full tilt from then on. Goldsmith loved and fed off the vibes and interactions it brought, and made her photo studio, as she worded it, “A crucible of positive energy.”

While musicians have been the subjects that resonate most with her, she’s also photographed many actors, politicians, athletes, scientists, and businessmen. However, Goldsmith truly loves music above all, and is a singer herself. This handsome book is chock-full of very recognizable musicians that reflect both Goldsmith’s and the subjects’ personalities and love for what they do. There are far too many artists to list, so get the book for yourself and find out. You’ll certainly do what fellow Michiganian Bob Seeger brilliantly sang about: Turn The Page.


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