Photographer: Rick McGinnis
"Patti Smith was re-emerging from her retirement after the death of her husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith, with an appearance at NXNE, and I was assigned to photograph her for the cover of NOW magazine. I set up my studio in the hotel room of our publisher and waited with some anxiousness. I expected someone quite difficult, and prepared to deal with quite a bit of attitude, but when Patti arrived at the room she was sweet and humble and immediately asked me what I wanted to do with the portrait. I told her that I’d been looking at a lot of 19th century portraiture and Pictorialist photography and wanted to capture the feel of an old studio portrait of Sarah Bernhardt by someone like Nadar. “You mean Julia Margaret Cameron and that sort of thing?” she asked me. I said yes, and she smiled, saying that she liked my idea – that I “got it” and that she’s give me a little more than she’d give another photographer. After that the shoot went better than I could have imagined, and Patti was more than cooperative, and in complete sympathy with my little conceit. She ended up using the shots for promo purposes while she got ready to record her comeback album, Gone Again, and even put one on a t-shirt sold at a concert in Central Park. As successful as the shoot was, I was never really satisfied with the prints I made until digital photography came along, and I was finally able to treat the image the way I had it in my mind when I described it to Patti twenty years earlier in a Toronto hotel room."
Print Size: 20x20