Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"How To Be the Photograph"

Patti Smith, photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe for the cover of her first album, Horses

Haunted by Ms. Patti Lee.

The NYR Blog has a lovely piece on Patti Smith's participation at a Met event honoring Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. The text is accompanied by the songs Smith performed alongside her daughter, pianist Jesse Paris Smith, and Larry Kaye on guitar. Such a joyous treat.

I shamefully have to admit that except for the Blue Lines, I'm only familiar with Georgia and Alfred thanks to Patti's latest memoir.
John saved the most breathtaking images for last. One by one, he shared photographs forbidden to the public, including Stieglitz’s exquisite nudes of Georgia O’Keeffe. Taken at the height of their relationship, they revealed in the intimacy a mutual intelligence and O’Keeffe’s masculine beauty. As Robert concentrated on technical aspects, I focused on Georgia O’Keeffe as she related to Stieglitz, without artifice. Robert was concerned with how to make the photograph, and I with how to be the photograph.
- Patti Smith, Just Kids

Patti Smith would eventually be both. The photograph and the photographer. Some of her work as a photographer was part of the It's Not Only Rock'n'Roll, Baby! exhibition, which I had the unexpected chance to see in Brussels, at BOZAR, in September 2008. Sadly, I can't say I was interested in Patti Smith's work at that time, and I did not pay the due attention to her photographs. I of course regret that, especially now that I've been so taken with her book, Just Kids.

I'm late to the party, I know, I know.

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