Paul Greenfield MFA, ARPS

Nan Goldin (1953)

Nancy "Nan" Goldin (born September 12, 1953) is an American photographer. Her work often explores LGBT bodies, moments of intimacy, the HIV crisis, and the opioid epidemic. Her most notable work is The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1986), which documents the post-Stonewall gay subculture and Goldin's family and friends. She lives and works in New York City, Berlin, and Paris.

The impact of Larry Clark's Tulsa or The Ballad of Sexual Dependency has transcended any of their individual pages. Like a real diary, these photos are simply more affecting in an intimate, portable format. The pages' sequential nature, furthermore, underscores the work's narrative element -- the cast of characters and their evolving relationships; their everyday joys, pains, triumphs, and, sometimes, deaths. For these reasons, exhibiting diaristic photos can be a challenge. Their enlargement, moreover, is hindered by the relatively large grain of 35mm film. As a result, several photo diarists have searched out new guidelines for exhibiting their work. Nan Goldin came up with one novel solution by showing her photos as a slideshow with music. Wolfgang Tillmans, on the other hand, suspends his unmounted prints from binder clips, often accompanied by his magazine spreads, carefully cut out and pinned or taped to the wall.

Magazines still offer a crucial venue for snapshot diarists, not just in fashion but also in the grey area -- between fine and commercial art -- that has always been unique to photography.
Back to Top