On the Scene: Lynn Goldsmith at the Morrison Hotel Gallery (11/21/19)

From her photographs of the Beatles’ boots in 1964 to her recent shots of Patti Smith at the Morgan Library, Lynn Goldsmith has come full circle with her new book, Before Easter After (TASCHEN). At Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC, Goldsmith discussed her work, as well as her love and respect for the book form, in a slideshow presentation spicing up her photos with some sassy tidbits of rock ‘n’ roll history along the way. Each photograph runs on down the cosmic ladder in a career, “that was in no way planned.”

“Beatles Boots” was taken while she was in her teens staying at the same hotel in Miami as the Fab Four made their way through the lobby. She met James Osterberg (aka Iggy pop) at the University of Michigan and photographed the Velvet Underground, who she met through her sister, who was dating John Cale at the time. She co-managed Grand Funk Railroad during their seventies heyday and photographed their first few album covers. 

New York City beckoned and Goldsmith quickly became friends with members of Kiss, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, and Bruce Springsteen. A call one day from Miles Copeland to photograph his brothers’ new band, The Police, led her to a barbershop shoot.  Describing each band member as “incredibly smart,” she went onto photograph the band at the height of their fame, photos which are chronicled in the book The Police 1978-1983.

At the Morrison Hotel Gallery on this occasion, Goldsmith shared an interesting story of her favorite leather jacket that was used as a prop by numerous rockers, from Frank Zappa to Darryl Hall to Bruce Springsteen, who wore it on the cover of Born to Run. The jacket eventually ended up at Graceland, bringing it back to the King’s lair, a journey of which Goldsmith is “extremely fuckin’ proud of.” 

Goldsmith worked on a shoot with Frank Zappa to encourage young people to register to vote. After some pleading with his frankness, he finally agreed to don an Uncle Sam outfit to bring home the message to the youth of America, holding onto a gigantic pencil.

The Police

She talked about the confluence of music and fashion, using Bryan Adams as an example, who showed up at his first photo session a pimply and nerdy looking guy in green leisure suit pants. Goldsmith transformed him into an eighties mullet rocker with the help of a hair stylist and some wardrobe changes. The rest is rock ‘n’ roll history.

Goldsmith ended the talk by discussing her pending lawsuit with the Andy Warhol Foundation, regarding her copyrighted image of Prince from 1981, which Warhol silkscreened and made his own. At stake are artists’ rights, the ownership of images, and what happens to artists’ copyrighted work that is altered by others who then claim the work as their own.

The evening was a fine presentation of rock ‘n’ roll, and the artists who bring the sound to life.