As a child of the 50s, Nan Goldin didn’t buy the family image of famous TV show Leave it to Beaver. Her parents tried to contain their defiant Nan, especially after they suffered the loss of their eldest daughter to suicide.
After enduring unbearable suffering at her house, Goldin decided to run away and started experimenting with drugs. She ended up going to a school for ‘problematic’ kids, and this is where she was paired with a camera. After completing secondary school, she enrolled at Tufts University to study photography.
“I knew from a very early age, that what I saw on TV had nothing to do with real life. So I wanted to make a record of real life. That included having a camera with me at all times.” Nan Goldin
Her roommate was a drag performer and was Nan’s gateway to another world. The Boston gay and drag scene was where Goldin belonged, a place where she felt like family.
Many people diminish Goldin’s work and say it is a white, female voyeur who is exploiting alternative lifestyles for the sake of art. This couldn’t be further than the truth and this idea betrays the intimacy that is so prevalent in Goldin’s work.
“My work was all about homage because I thought they were the most beautiful people I ever met in my life,” she said.
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