DPP Home Profiles Lynn Goldsmith: In The Looking Glass

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lynn Goldsmith: In The Looking Glass

Lynn Goldsmith challenges identity and perception with a body of self-portraits that she has been creating, assembling and crafting for more than 10 years

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Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Combining these images with self-portraits and other objects photographed in her own studio, Goldsmith literally spent years working on the images in Photoshop to create seamless composites that would hold up at huge print sizes.

“I tried figuring it out,” she says, “and I would say that each image was no less than 40 hours of work per week for a month. People think there are sets. That’s why I work digitally. The Photoshop work is good enough, hopefully, that when you see them, it really looks like a single image.”

Printing is key for Goldsmith, not only in creating the finished 60x90-inch gallery prints, but in proofing her work to check for errors as she goes.

“I start out first thing at 20x24,” she says, “so that I can see various things I couldn’t really see on the screen. I go correct that, then I start making prints that are 30x40, then I’ve got to make prints that are 40x60. All this time I’ve been using Epson printers, and I kept upgrading my printers to make bigger and better-looking prints, up to an [Epson Stylus Pro] 11880. When it comes to making a 60x90-inch print, which I can’t print on my Epson, I send the files to Nash Editions. What I’m going to do for museums is print on Fujiflex paper because it makes a more three-dimensional look. It’s a photographic paper that has a kind of metallic look to it that gives it a certain level of depth that I like.”

Technological advancement, both in printing and digital capture, has played a critical part in the evolution of Goldsmith’s 10-year project. When she started, 35mm film was the portable standard. She moved to medium-format digital and Nikon pro DSLRs. The blessing of all of that technological improvement was also a curse, meaning that at any given time she would think about going back to reshoot image elements with newer, state-of-the-art gear.
We all go through times, she says, where we wonder if the work that we’re doing or the friends that we have or our family relationships—is any of this meaningful? I don’t care what economic strata you come from, I don’t care what level of education you’ve had, I really believe that all human beings question the meaning of life. And shopping seems to be an activity that takes people out of letting that be a heavy question.

Dancing Marionettes
“Sometimes I wanted to go back,” says Goldsmith, “being the perfectionist that I am, and shoot something and redo it. When I started there was the Nikon D1X, then the D2H, the D2X, the D3. The Nikons made files big enough for small elements that I was adding to the image in Photoshop, but I really needed the Leaf back for the full windows. I think in 2006 I was using the [Leaf] Valeo 22.”

In talking about how digital capture has improved, Goldsmith describes how that improvement has resulted in some of her images being left by the wayside. Store window displays are constantly changing and being updated. As the newer sensors with higher resolution and better color rendition came on the scene, Goldsmith would find that she wanted to bring that image quality to bear on an image she was crafting, but doing a reshoot was impossible because the window display had changed.

Says Goldsmith, “Sometimes there were older images that I chose not to continue with once I was able to get digital equipment with better sensors. Everything just keeps getting better.”

Each image may be grounded in the reality of a store display, but from there Goldsmith’s imagination fully took over. She invented her own narratives, some obviously shared through visual cues planted throughout each scene, while others are for her own edification.


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