You know all those famous Andy Warhol silk screen prints of Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor and lots of other glitterati? Now one of the most famous of these, the Prince series, is at the heart of a case the Supreme Court will examine on Wednesday. And it is a case of enormous importance to all manner of artists.
On one side of the dispute is Lynn Goldsmith, famous for photographing rock stars and whose work is on more than 100 album covers. In 1981 Goldsmith was commissioned to shoot a series of photos of Prince for Newsweek. At the time the Purple Rain rock star was just starting to take off. Goldsmith photographed him in concert and invited him to her studio where she gave him purple eyeshadow and lip gloss to accentuate his sensuality and his androgyny. She even set her photography umbrellas to create pinpricks of light in his eyes. The result was an image that she would later say was a portrait of vulnerability. Newsweek didn't use the studio photo, opting instead to use the concert photo, and Goldsmith kept the other photos in her files for future publication or licensing.