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Lynn Goldsmith

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Celebrity Portrait Photographer

Victor in the U.S. Supreme Court case: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith 

Over the past 50 years Lynn Goldsmith’s photography has appeared on and between the covers of Life, Newsweek, Time, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic Traveler, People, Elle, Interview, The New Yorker, etc. Her subjects have varied from entertainment personalities to sports stars, from film directors to authors, from the extraordinary to the ordinary man on the street. imagery is in numerous museum collections: The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Museum Folkwang, The Polaroid Collection, The Kodak Collection, etc. It’s also in the personal art collections of many celebrities: Michael J. Fox, Miley Cyrus, Elton John, Elliot Paige, to name a few. Winning numerous prestigious awards: the Lucien Clergue, World Press in Portraiture, the Lucie in Portraiture, Lynn considers herself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to make her quest into the nature of identity, into beauty, into stardom, and the human spirit, to be both her life adventure and her livelihood.

Fifteen books of Lynn’s imagery have been published. The Rizzoli coffee table photo book, New Kids, made The New York Times Best Seller list. This is a rare occurrence for any book of photography. Her sixteenth book, Springsteen and the E Street Band, published by Taschen, will be released fall of 2023. She’s also received two New York Art Direction awards for her books Circus Dreams, and Rock and Roll Stories.

Lynn’s professional achievements are in no way limited to the world of photography. In 1969 for Electra Records, she created the ‘bio-disk,’ won a Clio for her inventive radio spots, and was one of the first to make short films of musicians to be used for promotion of the album. Lynn is the youngest woman member ever to be accepted into the DGA (Director’s Guild of America). In 1971, she was a director for Joshua Television, the first company to do video magnification for rock groups entertaining at what was then considered large venues, i.e. Madison Sq Garden and the Hollywood Bowl. In 1972, she became a director for the first rock show on late night network television: ABC’s “In Concert”. By 1973, Lynn stopped directing TV and joined Andy Cavaliere to co-manage Grand Funk Railroad. Lynn created the American Band campaign. She made a documentary styled film for their song “We’re An American Band” and was the first to not only make sure it was released as a theatrical short, serviced to US Army bases worldwide, but also used to make TV spots. For their next album, Lynn was the first to do a 3D album cover with punch out 3D glasses. By 1976 Lynn was ready to move on and left management to focus on a career as a photographer. She founded a photo agency that licensed her work and others to publications across the globe. It was the first photo agency to focus on celebrity portraiture. Established in 1976, when news photography was what photo agencies focused on, Lynn seemed to know a decade before others that the magazine appetite would shift from world events to more coverage of the biggest names in entertainment.

By the early 80’s Lynn expanded her creativity to become the first ‘optic-music’ artist. Using the a.k.a. Will Powers, she wrote and produced the album “Dancing For Mental Health” released on Island Records. Working with noted musicians Sting, Steve Winwood, Todd Rundgren and Nile Rodgers, her debut album won critical acclaim and the single, Kissing With Confidence, reached #3 on the British charts. As was her plan, the videos from the album which she produced and directed, became more than simply commercials to sell the record. They were used by the United States Department of Labor to inspire unemployed youths, by the National Marriage Counsel in England and by Harvard University to help with language instruction. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has two Will Powers videos in their permanent collection. Lynn was among the first artists to do 3-dimensional computer animation as seen in her 1983 video, Adventures in Success. The roots of her music came from the experience of being in a band, The Walking Wounded, while attending the University of Michigan where she graduated in 3 years, Magna Cum Laude, with a B.A. in both English and Psychology. Though highly educated, Lynn considers herself a self-taught artist.

In 2016 a lawsuit was brought against her by the Andy Warhol Foundation for her studio portrait of Prince. For seven years she fought to protect her copyright, and that of all artists, to their work. The legal battle went all the way to the Supreme Court, and in May of 2023, Lynn won a 7-2 victory. This ruling insured that the copyright law would not become so diluted by an unclear definition of fair use that visual artists could lose the rights to their work. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor called Lynn “a trailblazer.” The Chronicle book ‘200 Women Who Will Change the Way You See the World‘ included Lynn. The wide range of Lynn’s talents, skills and achievements are products of a belief she holds constant: If you want to maximize your potential for living a full life, you needs to break limiting thought patterns, bust through fear, take risks, and persistently work hard to reach your goals.

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