Picks and Pans Review: Photodiary
As a rock-and-roll photographer, Goldsmith knows—in the words of one of her most famous subjects—that you can't always get what you want. But she tries—all the time—unabashedly mixing the personal with the professional. What you just might find in her sad, funny, frank and graphically bracing picture autobiography, is that she gets what she needs. Which is to connect with something core in her subjects: ego, Eros or the conviction that rock is not just ear candy (unless you're Rick James, who in one memorable, libidinous photo turns his blonde girlfriend's lobe into literally that.)
Need and want are fundamental themes in rock and in Goldsmith's book. What she wants from many of the stars she encounters is friendship, sometimes more. Her late '70s romance with Bruce Springsteen and especially its ignominious end—when the singer hauled her up onstage, then shoved her away, shouting, "This is my ex-girlfriend"—is notorious.
Goldsmith, 47, tells the stories of her affairs with Springsteen, Sting, David Byrne and a couple of lesser-knowns in vivid, condensed paragraphs that are usually more coolly self-critical than self-justifying. Confessing that Byrne never called her again after she once subjected him to a fit of jealous screaming, she writes, "I've learned that yelling at someone will never make them want you to be a part of their life."
Not stop-the-presses stuff, but Goldsmith's honesty about herself and others accumulates force. Her quietly compelling and often beautifully lit photographs combine with her text to create a portrait of a child of divorce, growing up in Detroit and Miami, hungry for love, moved by music, intensely driven and as resourceful and stubbornly independent as she is needy. An exhibit of Goldsmith's work, currently on view at Manhattan's International Center of Photography, will travel later this summer to Washington and Atlanta. (Rizzoli, $50)