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December 30, 2023

Stunning Black and White Photos of Patti Smith Taken by Frank Stefanko During the 1970s

When she was in college, Patti Smith became a muse for Frank Stefanko after she caught his eye in a co-op in South Jersey by “mosey[ing] in like the bad guy walking into a saloon in an old Western movie,” as he recalls of his first encounter with the singer in Patti Smith: American Artist.

“There I was sitting in a booth at the co-op of Glassboro State College, a bucolic school in the farmlands of South Jersey. . . Suddenly, the double doors of the co-op swung open and standing there in the vacuum created was an incredible apparition, a vision in a white leather coat with long, jet-black hair flowing down her back. She moseyed in like the bad guy walking into a saloon in an old western movie. This was the first time I set eyes on Patti Smith, and I was captivated.”

So begins Frank Stefanko’s wonderfully personal photographic tale of his friendship and artistic collaboration with Patti Smith. Stefanko’s photographs and his warm, personal recollections show us an amazing young woman, long before she became Patti Smith, the cultural icon.


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