Rocker Patti Smith, photographer Lynn Goldsmith collaborate on 'Before Easter After'

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Sandy Kenyon has the details.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A new book of imagery and poetry celebrates the collaboration of two women who have been friends for more than 40 years.

Musician Patti Smith and her pal, photographer Lynn Goldsmith, worked together on "Before Easter After" using Smith's words and Goldsmith's photos of the singer -- who has rocked us for almost half a century.

Smith shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen and Bono to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and she was inducted herself a dozen years ago.

Goldsmith calls her the paragon of cool.

"Because she is," she said. "Just look at the pictures."

We met at Electric Lady Studios in the Village for a brief photo session.

"I'm from South Jersey, and people from South Jersey are just naturally cool," Smith said. "But it's not something you can aspire to. I guess you are or you're not."

Smith is a poet who became a rock star, and Goldsmith is a legendary rock photographer. Their work together is its own kind of poetry.

"She wants the best of you to be magnified," Smith said.

And this work is a prophecy fulfilled, because Smith once wrote in a poem, "There will be nothing we cannot image and therefore accomplish."

Their successful collaboration comes down to mutual trust.

"Not only because she's open to the way I am with my glowing aspects, but also my flaws," Smith said. "And she's going to find the best light for them."

The best of their work in the 1970s is collected in the new book, which evokes - to borrow more of Smith's words - "a palace of memory."

"'Before Easter After' is a book that will transport you into a certain period of time," Goldsmith said. "And those years I think not just in New York, but everywhere, were rather special."

Smith became known as "The High Priestess of Punk," a style of music she once described as "the freedom to be who you are."

It's a vibe these women, who are both in their 70s now, have never abandoned.

Smith says Goldsmith takes her out of her comfort zone, and Goldsmith said Smith does the same thing for her.

They chose the words and images in their new book together, and the result is a meeting of two minds -- as vibrant as when they first wandered the streets of the city together four decades ago.

'Before Easter After" is published by TASCHEN. Click here for more information.


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