Friday, 15 February 2013

Nan Goldin

Nan One Month after Being Battered 1984 Chibachrome print Dimensions variable

When deciding what my final major project would include, it became apparent that my work was closely linked to memory and nostalgia. I have found I seem to be much more inspired and excited by the work of photographers and film makers to inform my own illustration work, rather than looking at other illustrators work solely. I began looking at photography which had interested me in the past and began to find out where they had came from, I then realised that the majority of my favourite photographs were all actually by the same woman, Nan Goldin.

Her photographs are mainly of people she knows personally and the main purpose of her photography is to capture memories and capture a story. Its amazing to look through her photographs as a collection and see the stories of these real life people which emerge within them. I love that her photography is not professionally posed or set up and is a genuine representation of that moment, capturing a sense of the reality.

She photographs a lot of her friends who were suffering from and dying from AIDS, drag queens, couples and even images of herself. I find her work fascinating not only because of subject matter but the aesthetic too, she is said to have created the 'heroin chic' style made popular in the mid 1990s, which was characterised by pale skin, dark circles under the eyes and angular bones structures. The 'heroin chic' look was said to be a reaction to the 'healthy' looking models of that time. Although the look has negative connotations, and I love glamour, I somehow find a sense of reality within this kind of imagery yet still retaining a sense of fantasy and nostalgia, creating in a sense a form of negative glamour. That is what I love most about Nan Goldins work, she is able to take a negative image and still make it into a positive, photographing people which are clearly in pain, unhappy, dying, but positively photographing these images as a way of preserving their memory.

Here is a great interview with Nan Goldin which I recently came across in which she explains her work in more detail.