Nan GoldinAmerican (Washington, D.C., 1953)
Self-portrait with eyes turned inward, Boston
Goldin's photographs are like diary entries: they tell the story of her life and the people with whom she has shared it. They document both the highs and the lows, the joys of new love as well as the pain of loss. She writes of her work, "There is a popular notion that the photographer is by nature a voyeur, the last one invited to the party. But I'm not crashing; this is my party. This is my family, my history."
While studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in the late 1970s, Goldin began exhibiting The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, the extended series of photographs for which she is now best known. Originally a slideshow set to music, the project evolved into a series of color photographs and later a book (1986). Many of her photographs are self-portraits, like this one, taken when she was recovering from years of drug addiction. Others show her crying, in bed with various lovers, with a black eye inflicted by an abusive boyfriend, and even in the bathroom.