Nan Goldin knows how to make you think
Nan Goldin is certainly one of the world’s more interesting photographers. She unwittingly pioneered the harsh-flash style that so many youth culture magazines of the 1990s picked up on, and has some amazing work involving children, some of which has been criticised and even banned.
But to me, she’s fascinating, and I really dig why she is drawn to photography as a form of expression. Essentially, she wants to remember things, even her own friends dying of AIDS. It’s one of the main reasons we all take photographs.
I recently watched a clip of her uploaded to the Tate‘s YouTube channel, and another of her theories really struck me – the theory that as children, between the ages of zero to about three or four, we are closer to where we come from and where we end up than at any other time in our lives. We are androgynous, innocent, a blank canvas.
So what if we didn’t have a society telling us how we should live as a male or female? What if we just went with the flow and ended up as either or, maybe somewhere in between? What if being photographed naked with your friends in your 20s was no more controversial than it was when you were two or three years old? What if, despite being male, you wanted to wear a skirt? After all, females can get away with wearing jeans and sporting short haircuts.
There are so many unknowns that we allow to get away, it makes you think does anyone truly live the life they were perhaps destined to, or are we all drawn to other things, taken down different paths because of the beliefs and expectations of others? It really makes you think.