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Rick McGinnis
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I have to admit that I was, for the longest time, in the same boat. There was something about the fervent adoration that Patti Smith's fans had for her that put off the young punk that was me, and I carried that around with me for years. It's not like I hated her music, but that its inability to inspire the same rabid devotion made me spiteful in my reaction to said fandom whenever I met it. Cut to the mid '90s, and Patti Smith's return from retirement and the Dream of Life record, which was still unreleased when she passed through Toronto on a tour. The publisher of the free weekly I worked for was a huge fan and I was asked to photograph her for the cover, in his hotel room during NXNE. I frankly dreaded the assignment, steeling myself for a NY Rock Diva, full of attitude and weirdness. I set up my lights with a knot in my stomach, expecting the worst. What walked through the hotel room door was one of the nicest, most generous people I have ever worked with. She was sweet and humble and very interested in what I wanted to do. "What's your inspiration for this photo," she asked, and I explained that I was really into early photography and the Pictorialists lately, people like Nadar. "Julia Margaret Cameron and that sort of thing?" Patti asked? Yeah, exactly. "OK. OK. You get it. That's great. You'll get more than I usually give out to photographers. I love all that kind of stuff. Fantastic. Let's shoot." I was stunned. The shoot went marvelously, and a few weeks later I got a call from Patti asking if she could use one of the shots for a publicity still while she waited to set up a session with Bruce Weber for her album cover. One of the shots also ended up on a t-shirt she had made up for a Central Park concert. So yeah. My bad attitude toward Patti Smith had more to do with me than her, in the end. I've gotten to like Horses and Radio Ethiopia and even "Because the Night," despite the whole Springsteen thing. But yeah - "Redondo Beach." Whatever.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2015 on I'm Sorry, Patti, ... I Was Wrong at Flaming Pablum
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Jul 22, 2015