Patti Smith’s photography book is a moving window into her world

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Legendary punk rocker and singer-songwriter Patti Smith has just released her latest creative work, A book of dayswhich feature more than 365 images and reflections on the now 75-year-old woman that capture her essence as award-winning author, mother, poet and musical icon.

A book of days Reportedly inspired by Smith’s hugely popular Instagram account, where she amassed over a million followers sharing images of herself and her daughter Jesse (also a musician) and son Jackson, as well as images from the tour and her travels, all accompanied by beautifully written poems.

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Comprising over 365 photographs taken in a single year, A book of days (opens in a new tab)is a new way to experience the expansive spirit of Patti Smith, the visionary poet, writer and now photographer, known for her shots with her Land Camera 250.

The book features personal photos from the archives of Smith’s life on road and off-road tours, as well as his travels around the world. Patti’s previous book just children was a phenomenal success, a coming-of-age memoir detailing the relationship between her and American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith and Mapplethorpe were lovers – except Mapplethorpe was gay.

His other renowned and deeply moving book, a 2015 memoir titled M-train, is illustrated with his signature Polaroids and earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album. The book focuses on memories of Smith’s life in Michigan and the loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith.

His latest book, however, very well mimics the format followed by Smith’s Instagram posts, with a mix of daily phone captures of the Cairo cat, images of cafe and magazine covers, as well as crowd shots and memorabilia from the past.

Not all of the images in the book were captured by Patti herself, although a large majority were. Other musicians and portraits of famous historical figures feature in the book to illustrate the words shared by Patti, such as an image of young environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Patti’s own collection of images aren’t just captured on her phone, as she shares her love and keen interest in photography. The book also contains vintage photographs depicting significant items such as birthday beads, a mother’s key ring, and a Mosrite guitar.

Patti’s first Instagram post

Patti posted her very first image on Instagram in 2018 and has since shared 1,729 posts in just four years. “My daughter, Jesse, had suggested that I open an Instagram account to distinguish mine from fraudulent people soliciting on my behalf.” writes Patti in the opening of the book, “Jesse also felt that the platform would suit me, as I write and take pictures every day.”

Smith began her journey on Instagram by sharing images captured using her phone which included topics such as her daily coffee, the books she reads, her radiator, a pair of boots, portraits of her two children adults and without forgetting his Abyssinian cat, named Cairo. .

A portrait of Patti Smith (Image credit: Steven Sebring (Courtesy of Penguin Random House))

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Smith’s followers felt an immediate resonance with the thumbnail windows and snippets of her daily life and the world she shared. Johnny Depp describes A Book of Days as “a poetic masterpiece”.

Over time, these combined images tell a cohesive story of an important life dedicated to art, music and passion. Smith’s unique aesthetic in the images shined through via her Instagram posts chronicling her passions, devotions, and quirks.

Be sure to order a copy of A Book of Days yourself (opens in a new tab) by Patti Smith, bestselling author of just childrenwhich won the National Book Award in 2010, and M-train.

• You might also be interested in our guides on the best portrait photography books (opens in a new tab)the best coffee table books on photography (opens in a new tab)as good as best fashion photography books (opens in a new tab)and the 25 best films about real photographers (opens in a new tab).

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