The four-decade friendship between musician Patti Smith and rock’n’roll photographer Lynn Goldsmith has led the pair to collaborate on a new limited-edition photo book, published last month by Taschen.
Released in an edition of 1,300, each $700 volume is signed by both women, and features hundreds of photos along with new writings by Smith.
“I no longer remember how we met, nor the genesis of our first photographs,” Smith says in the book’s introduction. But the pictures in the book—many of which are published for the first time—reveal Goldsmith as a constant presence in Smith’s life, shooting behind-the-scenes documentary photography as well as studio portraits and concert images.
This unique relationship between photographer and subject gives the book a narrative thrust unusual for such a publication. Titled Before Easter After, the glossy tome is centered on a traumatic event from Smith’s life, which was captured by Goldsmith as she followed the Patti Smith Band on tour in 1977. In a terrible accident, Smith fell from the stage during a performance, fracturing her back, tailbone, neck, and skull.
From her vantage point in the crowd, Goldsmith shot a harrowing image of Smith crashing to the ground. Goldsmith followed as paramedics loaded Smith onto a stretcher, photographing all the while—but she was also there to support her friend in the aftermath.
The fall was a pivotal moment for Smith, both personally and professionally. The book features Goldsmith’s poignant images of Smith’s rehabilitation and recovery, as well as images from the photo shoot for Smith’s next album, which the singer titled Easter, in recognition that coming back from such a devastating injury was akin to a resurrection.
Through Goldsmith’s lens, Smith oozes effortless sophistication, her strength and beauty resonating across the decades. Of course, the book offers an important record of music history, but more strikingly, it is a testament to the truly creative partnership between the two women.
See more images from the book below.
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