I do not love all of Nan Goldin’s work. And I’m one of those who believe that after lots of years she was forced to immitate her own original style. However, some of her work is definitely among the most brilliant that the world of photography has to offer. Nan Goldin was born in Washington, D. C. in 1953 and grew up in Boston to middle class Jewish parents. Shortly after her older sister’s suicide she was introduced to the love of her life: a photo camera. She began taking pictures of people in her city, mostly within the gay and transexual community and in 1973. After she moved to New York she got mostly to photograph people form the post punk scene and other subcultures, such as homosexuals or drug addicts. She now lives and works in New York and Paris.
One thing i certainly love about her is the fact that she is one of the first to introduce this style of snapshot photography. Honest, intimate, natural, rough around the edges. Poverty, or sub cultures and drugs are not exploited like it happened with many other photographers later on. They are treated with a sincere interest and poetic realism, instead. The focus of her work is not on the rich, the famous, the beautiful, but on people that are different one way or another, situations that would have been considered ugly by many, and should best remain hidden. Which partly explains why lots of wannabe open-minded people get upset about her work. Nan Goldin was one of the few who were brave enough to deal with this kind of themes as they were, real and raw, like a punch in the gut. Her life and her work are a completely unique most intriguing blend and reinvention of photography, documentary and art.