Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin

I’m start­ing a new cat­e­gory in this blog for pho­tog­ra­phers that I think are worth check­ing out. I’ll start off with pho­tog­ra­phers that have been around awhile and I’ll write a few para­graphs, show a few pics and offer addi­tional links to whet your pho­to­graphic appetites. Let’s start off with Nan Goldin.

Nan Goldin is a con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can pho­tog­ra­pher born in 1953 cur­rently liv­ing in NYC, USA and I’ve been fol­low­ing her work for a over 2 decades. If I were forced to describe her work I’d write that Goldin is a ‘moment-photojournalist’. She both cap­tures and cre­ates inti­mate moments of the peo­ple in her life and it’s hard not to have an opin­ion about her pho­tog­ra­phy. If you have never heard of her, research her two most famous photo books (The Bal­lad of Sex­ual Depen­dency, Aper­ture, 1986 and The Devil’s Play­ground Phaidon 2003) in order to form your own impres­sions. One thing you will notice pretty quickly is that a lot of the work breaks the rules. A lot of images are out of focus. A lot of the images are not safe for work.

What I really like about Goldin’s work are the moods she cre­ates in her images. She real­ized early on that like life itself, ’ life’s moments’ as cap­tured through the lens don’t always need to be sharp to be pow­er­ful. The moments of life that Goldin cap­tures, like life itself are often imperfect.


Greer and Robert on the bed, NYC 1982

Greer and Robert on the bed, NYC 1982 © Nan Goldin


Nan and Brian in bed, NYC, 1983

Nan and Brian in bed, NYC, 1983 © Nan Goldin


Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a taxi, NYC 1991

Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a taxi, NYC 1991 — © Nan Goldin


Bruno smoking a joint (valerie's legs) Paris 2001

Bruno smok­ing a joint (valerie’s legs) Paris 2001 © Nan Goldin


Swan-like embrace, Paris 2010

Swan-like embrace, Paris 2010 © Nan Goldin


Addi­tional Nan Goldin resources and links:

Wikipedia -  Nan Goldin
Nan Goldin inter­viewed by Adam Mazur and Paulina Skirgajllo-Krajewska
Goldin’s Years By Lisa Lieb­mann, orig­i­nally pub­lished in Art­Fo­rum, Octo­ber, 2002
Nan Goldin: ‘I wanted to get high from a really early age’ — Inter­view with Sean O’Hagan — 2014