Photographs are important to us all. We can use them to recall the many beautiful, happy times that we encounter in life, long after those times have passed.

It’s no wonder that many artists have used this medium to create magnificent pieces. Nancy Goldin has made a significant name for herself through her various snapshots, and rightly so, given the captivating nature of many of these shots.

Goldin began photography as a teenager in Boston, specialising in black and white images of drag queens. She studied briefly at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Clearly, she did the right thing in following her creative dreams, as she has since gone on to win awards for her work, including the Hasselblad Award in Photography, 2007. Success comes to all those who work for it and earn it, which Goldin most certainly has.

Goldin’s work can currently be found on exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Perhaps one of her most recognised compositions is her collection of photographs, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1981). Goldin amassed this collection over the course of the 1970s, and it includes nearly 700 snapshots. A sense of intimacy recurs throughout this collection, largely due to the extensive self-portraiture which is present: many of the photos involve Goldin herself. A soundtrack is also used, meaning that both sight and hearing are appealed to. A treat for both the eyes and the ears, indeed.

Some of Goldin’s more specific pieces are also of interest. One such piece is Fog, Brides-les-Baines, France (2002). The viewer is presented with what appears to be a field with mountains surrounding it. This is difficult to confirm, however, due to the thick fog which besets the scenery. The result is a sense of mystery. Who knows what may be lying in wait within the foggy mystery of the future which lies before us all?

Also of interest is Goldin’s piece, Honeymoon Suite, Berlin (1994). An empty bed is the  central focus of this photo.  There is something slightly tragic about this. Surely, if the occasion is a honeymoon, a newlywed couple should occupy the bed, rather than leave it empty? Sometimes life doesn’t incorporate the happiness we believe it should.

Our memories are important to us, as they form a significant part of who we are. Photographs help to solidify those memories. Perhaps that is why Goldin has spent the best part of her career devoting herself to photos, so as to create all the more special memories. As she herself comments, “Real memory, which these picture trigger, is an invocation of the colour, smell, sound, and physical presence, the density and flavour of life”.

– Luke Mayo, Correspondent (Art)

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