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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Nan Goldin

Dates:  1953, 12 September -
Born:  US, DC, Washington
Active:  US
 
  
American photographer whose 1986 book ‘The Ballad of Sexual Dependency‘ was a shocking revelation of her social circle and at the same time she received critical acclaim because of the frank approach.

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Nan Goldin
Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK)

 
  
Nan Goldin’s book The Ballad of Sexual Dependency was one of the most influential series of photographs of the 1980's. It was originally presented as a slide show accompanied by a rock soundtrack and brought an intimate, even amateur, use of photography into the arena of contemporary art. It is a pictorial journey, documenting, with total candour, Goldin’s ‘extended family’ of Bohemian friends, drug addicts, transvestites, clubbers and battered lovers. The images are particularly powerful because of the photographer's involvement with her subjects over a 20 year period. 
  
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Victoria & Albert Museum and is included here with permission. 
  
Date last updated: 11 Nov 2011. 
  
SHARED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION PROJECT 
  
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.
 
  

Biography provided by Focal Press 
  
Goldin’s vérité-style slide and music diary, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (published as a book in 1986), used 700–800 images and popular songs to spin a constantly evolving tale of abuse, drugs, and sex. Goldin’s camera is part of her intimate relationships, recording her subjective internal feeling about what is going on between Goldin and her subjects. Her images are a post-modern morality tale that chronicles the heyday and collapse of a nihilistic lifestyle. Her work embodies the shift in photographic practice from the single flawless black and white print to casually composed collections of color snapshots that emphasize autobiography, sexuality, and outsider culture. 
  
(Author: Robert Hirsch - Independent scholar and writer) 
  
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 
  

Further research

 
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Thumbnail
Nan Goldin
Self Portrait in the Mirror, The Lodge, Belmont, MA 
1988
 
  
Family history 
  
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch. 
  
alan@luminous-lint.com
 
  
 
  

Visual indexes

 
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Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online (www.groveart.com) has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
Show on this siteGo to website
 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Nan Goldin.] 
  
 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

 
• Bauret, Gabriel (ed. and text) 2001 Color Photography (New York: Assouline) [Includes example color photographs by Nan Goldin] 
  
• Lahs-Gonzales, Olivia & Lippard, Lucy 1997 Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century. Selections from the Helen Kornblum Collection (Saint Louis Art Museum, D.A.P.) [Nan Goldin is included in this overview of women photographers.] 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
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