A Minute With: Patti Smith on her photography show

Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:46am EST
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By Julie Mollins

TORONTO (Reuters) - Singer Patti Smith is best known for her rock 'n' roll songs from the punk era of the 1970s, but visitors to a new photo exhibition will see a different side of the musician, poet and artist.

The 70 photos in Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) "Camera Solo" show, which runs from February 9 to May 19, include poetic images of gravestones, religious iconography and objects that belonged to dead writers and artists.

"The show expresses a lot about my inner life -- about a certain vision I have of the world, my travels, my aesthetic vision and some of the wonderful things I've seen, the people I've met," Smith said in an interview.

"Hopefully, it will inspire people to learn more about some of the artists or places I've shown, or to embark on their own studies or adventures."

The 66-year-old artist, whose songs include her rendition of "Gloria" and "Because the Night," hopes the Polaroid snapshots will rekindle a sense of appreciation for the commonplace.

The show includes photographs of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's slippers, author Virginia Woolf's bed, writer Susan Sontag's grave and poet Arthur Rimbaud's fork and spoon.

In a 2010 memoir "Just Kids" Smith wrote about her love affair and friendship with Mapplethorpe, which lasted until his death from AIDS-related complications in 1989 at age 42.

Smith, a mother of two was married to guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith who died in 1994. She released the album "Banga" last year and will begin a music tour in Japan.   Continued...

A 2006 photo of Jackson Smith is seen in this handout image. This is among 70 photos by his mother, singer Patti Smith, who is best known for her rock 'n' roll songs from the punk era of the 1970s, in a photo exhibition at the Toronto Art Gallery of Ontario called "Camera Solo" that runs from February 9 to May 19, 2013. REUTERS/Patti Smith/Robert Miller Gallery, New York/Handout