PATTI SMITH: DREAM OF LIFEThe photographer Steven Sebring went to his first Patti Smith concert eleven years ago. He was so impressed by her performance that he asked Patti Smith if he might photograph and film her. The footage he filmed was somewhat experimental in tone – for Steven Sebring had no professional film experience whatsoever – but it has resulted in a long-term observational work that is a very personal bio-pic, one that includes Patti Smith’s own comments on the filmed material.
Steven Sebring: “No person is just one thing. I know I am not just a fashion photographer. And Patti Smith is certainly not just a rock icon. She is much more. For me, this movie is about discovering who Patti Smith is.
This process of discovery has been over the course of eleven incredible years of filming. I can’t believe it, but a quarter of my life has been spent framing her in my lens. And through this film, I want to channel that experience to the audience. It all happened so organically. I was just interested in her and in getting to know her as a person. As our friendship blossomed over a decade, and as I got to know her, my lens was getting to know her as well.
I grew up with the top hits MTV fed me. But the music world has so much more to offer. That’s why Patti is so important. There’s something so raw about her, she cuts through all the artifice. Whether it’s through her poetry or her rocking out on stage, she’s the real thing. She’s a rock star, a poet, an artist, a mother, and an activist. She’s a folk hero. She’s been through a lot of tragedy and yet she has come through it. I can’t think of anyone who’s like her.”