Pictured: Lynn Goldsmith, 1948-present


“I didn’t try to have millions of rock’n’roll photos. I didn’t think I was on the right path to earning the title of “rock and roll photographer”. That’s just what happened to me. -Lynn Goldsmith

Lynn Goldsmith considers herself an entrepreneur and a self-taught artist. She is well known as a rock and roll photographer. She is so much more. His achievements are numerous and legendary.

Opening photo, top row, lr: Roger Daltry, Debbie Harry, Keith Haring, Tina Turner and Freddy Mercury. Bottom row, lr: Robert Plant and Jimmy Page-Led Zepplin, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.

Directors Guild of America

Lynn Goldsmith is the youngest member to become a member of the DGA – the Director’s Guild of America.

Lynn Goldsmith was a producer for Joshua Television, the company that brought upscaled videos of rock artists to the big screen during stadium shows. She worked as a director on the ABC TV show “In Concert”. She directed the 1973 documentary film “We Are An American Band”, the first theatrically released musical short. In the mid-1970s, she left management to lead one of the most popular bands of the day, Grand Funk Railroad.

Musician

Lynn Goldsmith & Patti Smith holding a camera in 1977. Photo by Michael Putland

Lynn Goldsmith wrote and produced Island Records’ ‘Dancing for Mental Health’ album in the early 1980s. She worked with well-known artists on that debut album, including the No. 3 hit ‘Kissing with Confidence’. place in Great Britain. She collaborated with Nile Rogers, Steve Winwood, Todd Rundgren and Sting on the record.

Videos

Lynn Goldsmith, working under the pseudonym Will Powers, produced and directed videos for the album. The United States Department of Labor showed them to young unemployed people. The National Marriage Counsel in England shared them with young people in Britain. Powers’ videos have helped Harvard and other schools improve their language teaching programs.

Lynn Goldsmith’s debut began as a band herself – The Walking Wounded – at the University of Michigan. She graduated in three years with a Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude in English and Psychology.

celebrity photo agency

In 1976, photo agencies focused on news photography for publication in newspapers and magazines. Lynn Goldsmith knew long before anyone else that celebrity portraits were an untapped market that the public would clamor to see. She founded LGI Photo Agency which represented more than two hundred photographers worldwide. His awareness has paid off as audiences have gone from world events to wanting images from the biggest names in entertainment.

Books and awards

Lynn Goldsmith has published 12 books on topics ranging from “Circus Dreams” to “Springsteen Access All Areas” to “The Looking Glass”. She has books on artists, Patti Smith, Kiss, The Police and New Kids.

His rewards are many. The PPA Lifetime Achievement Award, 2 Annual Black and White Spider Awards, the Lucie Award — Achievement in Portraiture and three Art Director’s Club awards to name a small selection.

Exhibitions

The list of Lynn Goldsmith exhibitions featuring her work is too long to mention. The cities that have hosted his work range from all over the world. Boston, Paris, New York, Kashan, Trondheim, London, Los Angeles and so on all over the world.

Warhol versus Goldsmith

Lynn Goldsmith photographed Prince in concert and then in his studio in 1981 for Newsweek. “Purple Rain” was released three years later. Vanity Fair commissioned Warhol to create an image for their “Purple Flame” article. Lynn Goldsmith received $400.00 from the magazine to license one of her studio portraits of Prince as a reference artist for Warhol. They agreed to credit it and use it only in the issue containing the article.

Warhol made 16 versions of Lynn Goldsmith’s Prince photo. Variations included different cultures and colorations. Vanity Fair ran one.

When Warhol died in 1987, his works became the property of the Andy Warhol Foundation. The foundation sold part of the series for six figures.

Prince died in 2016. Vanity Fair donated $10,250 to the Andy Warhol Foundation to use another image from the series for a cover. Lynn Goldsmith was not credited or paid.

Lawsuits have been filed and the case is still in litigation. Recently, the case made its way to the Supreme Court. Lynn Goldsmith was and is a strong advocate for artists’ copyrights.

Video

This 9-minute documentary tells her story in Lynn Goldsmith’s own words.

Documentary by Lynn Goldsmith of New York City Public Broadcasting

Sources: Lynn Goldsmith, Liss Gallery, New York Times.

More stories about inspiring photographers are in On Photography.

Previous How art and science come together in space photography
Next Full: BTS's RM shows off his photography skills in new "Film rkive" for upcoming photo folio