Rock And Roll Photographs by Lynn Goldsmith

Abrams | 304 pages | $50.00
By JAMES PARKER  |  December 3, 2007
Lynn Goldsmith’s Rock And Roll is, uh, impressive. The woman appears to have photographed everybody — the rugged democracy of showbiz prevails, from Patti Smith to Carlos Santana. In one of the book’s more startling juxtapositions, Grand Funk Railroad’s Mark Farner is featured opposite whinge-rock superstar James Taylor, the former shirtless and rural-primal astride a stallion, the latter bicycling along under a silly white helmet with an expression of spiritual abdication on his face. Which one is ridiculous? Both. Neither. Everyone in this book, and the rest of rock-and-roll, too. Goldsmith is not above the occasional silly location: Bruce Springsteen, for example, (because he sings about cars?) is photographed in a salvage yard, grimacing out of a hanging garden of hubcaps. But she seems to allow her subjects the dignity of their own moods: Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics, with her characteristic shotgun and taped-off nipple, peers from behind these props with oracular knowingness. Prince licks his guitar, Lou Reed gives a cheeky-monkey grin, Television look briefly non-neurotic. Sid Vicious, shot with a hard flash, displays the full redness of his acne and bottle-wounds. There’s a couple too many pictures of Hall and Oates for me, but hey, I’m a child of the ’60s. Or the ’70s. Whatever.
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