Rock and roll photographer captures epic decade with new book 'Music in the '80s'

BySandy Kenyon via KGO logo
Wednesday, November 23, 2022 2:34PM
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Photographer Lynn Goldsmith's new book 'Music in the 80's,' sheds light on the epic decade that included Bruce Springsteen and Freddie Mercury. Sandy Kenyon tells us more about it.

If you want to know just how amazing the '80s were, a book from a famed rock and roll photographer is shedding light on the epic decade that included the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Freddie Mercury and Bette Midler.

"The past is a foreign country," a novelist once wrote. "They do things differently there."

That sure is true about the decade of the 1980s.

"I think that I was definitely a person who was guilty of giving the 80's a bad rap until I worked on this book," photographer Lynn Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith's new book 'Music in the '80s,' made her revise that opinion because she says the diversity that was going on in that decade was so powerful.

So many different genres are represented in her photos at the Morrison Gallery in SoHo.

"What you see is how many different kinds of music really had strong popularity," Goldsmith said.

But so much of it was shaped not so much by record companies, but by cable television and MTV.

"Prior to MTV, often times an artist was not considered authentic if they had hair, make-up, and styling. And, MTV really changed that," Goldsmith said.

It was an era defined by big hair and a style that can only be called larger than life, which lent itself to a visual stylist like Goldsmith, who has been working behind the camera since she was 12 years old.

"She wants the best of you to be magnified," Patti Smith said.

Artists like Smith pose for Goldsmith again and again. They are photo shoots that become a collaboration between two artists.

"It's the feeling that I get in that decisive moment that keeps my camera in hand," Goldsmith said.