Friday, November 21, 2008

I'll Be Your Mirror

For many, many years i have found myself fascinated with the lives and works of certain women. Over time i have admired Maria Callas, Marianne Faithfull, Nuala O'Faolain, Björk, Tori Amos, Renee Vivien, Joan Of Arc, Grainne Mhaol and Ani Difranco

The first woman photographer whose photos touched a chord with me was Nan Goldin. I discovered her work in the college library on a wet and dreary December morning as i was busy mitching from a lecture. I dug out 'Nan Goldin: Ten Years After' and found myself mesmerized.

Goldin portrays subjects that are inseparable from her life: Places, Objects and People-especially her close friends (many are now dead from drug abuse and AIDs). Her work includes images of drug use, violence, relationships and many of her own deeply personal moments such as the photograph below. She took it a few weeks after being battered to prevent herself from forgetting the damage caused by her boyfriend's violence. Goldin has never shied away from the harsh realities of life especially when dealing with drug addicts and emotionally damaged individuals. When pieced together her photographs document her life and act as an autobiography.

She has said "I take blurred pictures, because I take pictures no matter what the light is. If I want to take a picture, I do not care if there is light or no light. If I want to take a picture, I take it no matter what. Sometimes I use very low shutter speed and they come out blurred." What i really like about her work is that she presents her subjects with empathy and candour, and not in a voyeuristic fashion. With an intimate feel, we get to glimpse the family/tribe that is not bound by blood but by experiences and love.


Anonymous said...

I find it hard to look at photos of beaten women. even harder to contemplate how they ended up that way.

Green of Eye, Sharp of Claw said...

Nursemyra, It is tough to view but it can be difficult for someone who hasn't experienced it to comprehend why anyone would tolerate that behaviour.

I guess Goldin took it to remind herself that memories, as with bruises, can fade. This was one way of ensuring that she wouldn't forget or gloss over the incident and as a result wouldn't return to the relationship.

Part of the reason why i love her work-she doesn't shy away from anything :)

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