Nan Goldin was born in Washington, D.C. on September 12, 1953. Soon she moved to Boston with her family. After her sister’s suicide in 1965, Nan Goldin took up photography, in order to preserve her memories. Her camera turned into an eye that did not forget.
Together with friends Goldin explored the aesthetics of fashion photography and got into contact with the Boston transvestite and cross-dresser scene. In the early 1970s Goldin strove for a documentary and objective depiction of the people, whom she admired for their special confidence.
Later Goldin brought her pictures from this scene together in her book “The Other Side”. After studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Tufts University in Boston, she moved on to color photography.
In 1974 she produced her first exhibition project “Image Works” at the university in Cambridge. In 1977 Goldin graduated and one year later she moved to New York.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s Goldin’s main motifs for her photographs were her friends, whom she regarded as a substitute for her family and who were very important to her. The viewer penetrates deeply into the privacy of the depicted, due to the exact titles of the photographies including name, place and date. Goldin’s slide show entitled “The ballad of sexual dependency” reflects the wild everyday life of her friends.
These shows, which are added to a soundtrack of music, are particularly impressive, because Goldin adds and rearranges the slides for every show to reflect changing moods, emotions, impressions and memories.
From 1986 Nan Goldin also exhibited abroad. In 1988 she had to undergo withdrawal from drugs, during which she began with a series of self-protraits, which show an intensified affect control. The loss of several friends due to AIDS infections during the early 1990s made Goldin return to depicting other people.
Following the invitation of the DAAD, Nan Goldin spent a year in Berlin and in 1995 her work was exhibited alongside that of other artists as part of the new “Boston School” at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art.
Only one year later the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York hosted a retrospective exhibition of the photographer’s works. Today Nan Goldin is one of the most famous contemporary photographers and her work can be seen in many collections. Goldin lives and works in New York, Berlin, and Paris.