Channeling Patti Smith

I feel like I've known Patti Smith my whole life. When I was a child in the 70s, my cool older cousin Lucy idolized her, and though I wasn't ready to embrace her then (frankly, her hairy armpits terrified me), I eventually grew into her.
01/21/2015 01:15 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I feel like I've known Patti Smith my whole life. When I was a child in the 70s, my cool older cousin Lucy idolized her, and though I wasn't ready to embrace her then (frankly, her hairy armpits terrified me), I eventually grew into her.

I started listening to her music, and when I moved to New York I went to see her sing, speak, read poetry. I used to walk to walk to work in Soho, and I would see Patti on Macdougal Street so often it felt like one day she would greet me, call out my name like Norm walking into Cheers. I read "Just Kids," everyone did, it won the National Book Award, but it still felt cozy and familiar, the way looking at pictures of old friends does.

My friend Cameron (@roon) posted a photo he shot of model Kara Neko (@indianpython) on Instagram; I thought she looked beautiful and compelling, and I realized she reminded me of Patti--her braids, the shape of her face, her direct gaze and expressive body. Kara and I connected through the app and made a plan to shoot together.

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Patti Smith, "Day Dream" by Frank Stefanko; used with permission

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Kara Neko (@indianpython) at A-1 Records, East Village NYC; photo by @jillshomer

I picked locations for us that would creatively play up on the association: A record store in the East Village, and the great punk clothing store Trash and Vaudeville.

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Kara Neko (@indianpython) at Trash and Vaudeville, Saint Mark's Place, NYC; photo by @jillshomer

The Chelsea Hotel, where Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe lived together, is no longer accepting lodgers, so we shot at the Duane Street Hotel in Tribeca. Patti famously wore a crisp white men's shirt on the cover of Horses, Kara is equally dramatic in a plush white robe.

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Kara Neko (@indianpython) at the Duane Street Hotel, Tribeca, NYC; photos by @jillshomer

"Love is an angel disguised as lust..."

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Kara Neko (@indianpython) at the Duane Street Hotel, Tribeca, NYC; photos by @jillshomer

I am hugely grateful to Kara Neko for collaborating with me on this project, and to Instagram for bringing us together. Follow us on the app: @jillshomer @indianpython @roon