‘Rock Legends’ tell the story of a generation | AspenTimes.com
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‘Rock Legends’ tell the story of a generation

Stewart Oksenhorn

Eventually, Lynn Goldsmith became a significant rock photographer, shooting most every major rock ‘n’ roll icon from Bob Dylan to her ex-boyfriend Bruce Springsteen, from Frank Zappa to Sting.But Goldsmith lived the ’60s more than she shot them. She played in a Detroit band, the Walking Wounded, and directed TV shows, putting off her photography career, for the most part, until the mid-’70s. As she puts it, “I opened for Jimi Hendrix – at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit – but I didn’t shoot him.”So when she decided to focus on the ’60s for the annual rock photography exhibit at her Basalt studio, Goldsmith had to turn her attention away from herself. She called friends like Jim Marshall, Elliot Landy, Baron Wolman and Gered Mankowitz, some of the earliest specialists in the field, and she also reached out to acquaintances like Herb Greene.The exhibit “Rock Legends,” which opens at Lynn Goldsmith Studios (40 Sunset Dr., in the Midvalley Design Center) with a reception on Thursday, Aug. 5, from 5:308:30 p.m., features such iconic ’60s images as Greene’s group portrait of the Grateful Dead in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, Marshall’s shot of Johnny Cash giving the finger at his infamous 1969 concert at San Quentin prison, and his photo of Jimi Hendrix during his legendary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. (Want more? There’s also Keith Richards with his Bentley from 1966; the Beatles in their final concert, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park; and a 1963 shot of Dylan in New York.)For Goldsmith, such images are powerful reminders of what she – and a lot of like-minded people – believed her generation stood for.”What I really wanted from these people were the ’60s. I shot Dylan, but I wanted an earlier Dylan,” said the 56-year-old Goldsmith. “Because in that period music was involved in politics and, at least for me, we felt like we were soldiers. It wasn’t just dancing; it was what unified us as the baby boomers, standing against the Christian right. We were about enlightenment, not monetary desires. When you went to a show, you were not only lifted by the music, but by being part of the audience, who presumably were all there for the same reason.””Rock Legends” represents the first time Goldsmith, who ventured into the gallery business some three years ago, is showing work by other rock photographers. But she says there is little sense of competition among the corps of veterans who shot their way through the days of San Francisco psychedelia, New York punk and ’80s New Wave.”Among people like us, the photographers who were at it early on, there was a sense of camaraderie and helping each other,” said Goldsmith, whose own works in the show – Springsteen, Debbie Harry, Patti Smith and Mick Jagger, all good friends of hers – are from the mid-’70s. “We thought of ourselves as photographers who chose this area, instead of fashion or sports, to be more involved. Over time, we’d all call each other – mostly to ask what everyone else was charging. We’d see each other on tour. And there weren’t that many who worked for Rolling Stone. It was a smaller world back then, a lot more manageable.”Even apart from Goldsmith’s work, “Rock Legends” isn’t confined to the ’60s. There are Herb Greene’s ’80s shots of the Dead and Andy Kent’s 1978 shot of Ozzy Osbourne on the toilet. And the artist in Goldsmith couldn’t resist including a photo of a very young Prince, from 1978.”Wait till you see that picture,” she enthused. “He’s got a huge Afro, and he’s in a parking lot where the whole wall was painted with musical notes. Even if it wasn’t Prince, it’s a fantastic image. I have it for my own collection.”Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com


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