On March 20, 2018, Patti Smith posted a first photo on her Instagram account. She had opened @Thisispattismith at the request of Jesse, her daughter. “I thought the platform would be a good fit for me, as I write and take photos every day,” the American singer-songwriter says in the foreword to her new book.
Today her account has one million followers and she likes the Instagram format so much that she has published A Book of Days, which features 366 entries dated from January 1 to December 31. It is akin to Instagram on the page, covering a leap year. Short texts accompany shots taken with her cell phone, Polaroids she snapped in the past and photos from her personal archive. Among them are public figures including Martin Luther King Jr., Joan Báez, and Greta Thunberg; literary obsessions like Borges or Murakami; books from her collection; photos of Smith and her late loved ones: her husband, Fred, her mother, and her brother, Todd. Also featured are her children, Jackson and Jesse, her inseparable guitarist, Lenny Kaye, and her cat, Cairo. The list is extensive and that’s the fun of the book. It’s like a 12-month long Advent calendar. Patti Smith’s style has always consisted of being very personal and at the same time universal. Why would she change now?