Book Review: Rock and Roll Stories captures a generation’s loyalty

by Michael Strickland  

Since the turn of the millennium, a boatload of books have been published, filled with pictures of rock stars. But every once in a while, a truly special collection comes along.  Rock and Roll Stories portraits by Lynn Goldsmith, is one such book.

According to the book's introduction, "after coming of age in the Midwest in the tumultuous 1960s, she crashed the music scene in New York and emerged as one of its leading image-makers. She chronicled Bruce Springsteen’s passage to glory, the Rolling Stones’ legendary stadium tours, Michael Jackson’s staggering ascent, U2’s arrival in New York, and the brooding force of Bob Marley, their website reads."

In Rock and Roll Stories, she shares the best of this work, the introduction  continues. "Her commentary takes the reader into the studio, the tour bus, the concert hall, and the streets where the pictures were made, offering revealing perspectives on her subjects and herself. A greatly expanded and newly designed edition of her very successful book PhotoDiary (1995), this volume captures the story of a generation’s loyalty to rock and roll."

If you are a music fan, you will definitely want to look at Goldsmith's versatile images. With brilliant use of contrast, color and background, a mythical quality arises among the variety of on and off-stage portraits. Her work has been spread across on covers and has graced publications around the world for close to four decades, with more than 100 album covers to her credit. With intimate access to the around-the-clock music scene, her pictures are strikingly candid. This collection boasts a strong underlying compositional order that grabs the eye, making the photos beautiful and deeply emotive.

Fine art photography with conceptual images defines Goldsmith's focus. This diverse collection includes plenty of of rare and previously unpublished pieces. Having begun her career at one of the most fertile times for rock music, household names and idols from Patti Smith to Bob Dylan also appear.  She approached the artists whose songs shaped the modern era with a passion, creating still shots that are among the definitive images of those she captured.

The breadth, scope, and depth of Goldsmith's work is truly amazing, and Rock and Roll Stories is a collection of her most iconic photos.