Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Patti Smith moved by exhibit of her photos

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TORONTO -- Patti Smith says she was brought to tears the first time she walked through the Art Gallery of Ontario's exhibit of her photography.

Patti Smith: Camera Solo is being displayed at the Toronto gallery through May 19.

The punk pioneer said the gallery's arrangement of her work was "extremely beautiful," and she was humbled to see her art alongside the likes of Czech photographer Josef Sudek.

The exhibit features more than 75 works of photography, film and objects from the musician's personal collection, including such artifacts as Pope Benedict's slippers, a stone from the river where English writer Virginia Woolf drowned herself and a teacup that belonged to Smith's father.

"People say: 'Well, you do so many graves -- are you morbid?"' Smith told The Canadian Press in an interview Wednesday.

"To me, these photographs illustrate the fact that I am privileged to go around the world visiting the resting places of people I admire, and being in close proximity with part of them."

And further, the 66-year-old singer sees the work as a crucial tool for remembering the many people close to her who were buried before their time.

The intimate photographs (shot on Smith's vintage Polaroid Land 250 camera and then issued on gelatin silver prints) include a few self-portraits but largely depict those around her, including her children, friends and creative idols.

Many of the photos and artifacts are associated with Smith's friendship with American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, which was explored in her award-winning memoir Just Kids.

Smith told The Canadian Press that she's currently working on another memoir that probes other periods of her life, as well as an "existential detective novel" she's been writing for the past couple of years.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 7, 2013 C18

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