Book Reviews

Photographer Lynn Goldsmith's New Book, Rock and Roll Stories

November 14, 2013

By RF Staff

I recently met my good friend, photographer Lynn Goldsmith for lunch, and when we were done, she said, "We have to stop off somewhere before you leave, I have something for you." That something turned out to be her new book, Rock and Roll Stories (Harry N. Abrams), which was released on November 5 to much fanfare.


Bruce Springsteen on the cover of Goldsmith's book, wearing the photographer's leather jacket. All photos here © Lynn Goldsmith

Every time I've tried to talk to Lynn since then, she's been busy with radio shows and TV appearances on morning talk shows and magazine interviews. The book, at just about 400 pages and $60, is dense with image after image of iconic rock star from his or her heyday—Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Michael Jackson, Roger Daltrey, Alice Cooper, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen (who also graces the cover wearing, as Lynn writes inside, her leather jacket) to name a few.

Musician, artist and poet, Patti Smith.

Musician, artist and poet, Patti Smith

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

But despite all these revealing images, Lynn tell me that this is "a reading book."

"The first thing I say in this book is that I did an illustrated autobiography, PhotoDiary, in 1995, and how I wanted to revisit that book and expand upon what I've learned since then," she explains. "That story has evolved since then because hopefully I am more evolved 20 years later."

By taking the reader, as the book jacket describes, "into the studio, on the road, and into the concert halls and on the streets where the pictures were made," the photographer conveys what her life was like back then, when she was photographing every single day and meeting and becoming friends with musicians and rock and roll royalty.

Debbie Harry of Blondie

Debbie Harry of Blondie

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson, 1984

"I'm really happy that people feel close to musicians, and what I was able to do, whether as a fly on wall, or doing set-up photos, was to bring them closer to the artist they always identified with," the photographer says.

When I asked Lynn what her favorite photo from the book was, her answer surprised me. "The one of me," she laughed. "Which one," was my response—because there are many, including a touching one of her with her mom, to whom she dedicates the book. "I love all the pictures of me in the book, because who doesn't love photos of themselves when they were younger? Every image in here brings back memories, as photos are meant to do, in a very clear way."

Lynn Goldsmith sleeping with cameras.

The photographer, Lynn Goldsmith, sleeping with cameras