69-76: Photographs of Patti Smith by Judy Linn
Judy Linn's photographs remind me of a description I've long carried in my head, probably for forty years or so, and probably from Lao Tzu tho I'm not really sure, that equates walking thru a stream without disturbing the water with the way to live. She is a great observer of how the big and small pictures are already within one another. I love how she loves the grays, and how she fades light into white the way an abstract painter does. Her photos exude a softness that I want more of in this world, they invite touch. That touch says the world is to be enjoyed and absorbed and clearly Patti and Judy did. This fashion shoot that Patti Smith and Judy Linn evoke is a great tribute to the perennial richness of life on the skinny.
As Judy Linn put it in the first paragraph of her notes in the Patti Smith 1969-1976, photographs by Judy Linn book just now published by Abrams Image, "I took these photographs before I knew how. In the beginning, it wasn't so much about how we were but who we wanted to be. Made without words or reason, they became an imaginary future. I can only remember the desire that created them—a private desire I learned from a childhood spent watching movies on tv. On a perfect Saturday afternoon I did not read books, I did not go outside. I watched tv and drew."
Judy Linn was born in Detroit, has a BFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, lives in NYC, and teaches at Vassar. Her first solo exhibition was at P.S. 1 in 1980 and was curated by Sam Wagstaff. Judy Linn's photographs were introduced to me with a flood of enthusiasm from Hilton Als somewhere around 1994 or 5, and this is her sixth one-person exhibition with Feature Inc.