Saturday, June 17, 2006

Nan Goldin and the Uncensored Life

Toon, So, and Yo go onstage, Bangkok, 1992

"My desire is to preserve the sense of people's lives, to endow them with the strength and beauty I see in them. I want the people in my pictures to stare back."
-Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin is a true original and an inspiration for a whole new kind of photorgraphy. Her view on the world has had an impact on film, design, fashion, and other art. An obvious example is teh "heroin chic" look which Goldin did not intentionally invent or inspire. Goldin actually thinks of using that particular look to sell clothes as "reprehensible and evil." The photos she takes of people aren't intended to show them in a different light or be purposefully grunge style but instead she wanted to show the world real people acting in ways real people do. She often focuses on over-looked or less accepted people and activities.

It is hard to talk about Goldin without mentioning her sister. Goldin's sister killed herself at age 18 in 1965. Goldin's work is a sort of result of the attitudes caused by this loss. Goldin shows evertyhing and does not hold back in her photos. People are exposed and life is matter of fact. She captures the wonderful and also the uncomfortable moments. When one glances through her amazing volume of work it is as if one is glancing into the privacy of a thousand other lives. People being people. Humanity exposed. Asthetics are thrown out and replaced by feeling and depth. There is so much in each photo.

Self portrait in blue bathroom, Berlin, 1991

Käthe in the tub, Berlin, Germany, 1984

Käthe is a musician Goldin met while in Germany. Many of Goldin's photos have mirrors and women reflected in them; it was one of her most common themes.

James backstage at Karl Lagerfeld Show, Paris, 1995

Honda brothers in cherry blossom storm, Tokyo, Japan, 1994

Goldin's work is well-known throughout Japan due to her extensive visits in the 90's. This particular photo has a terrific sense of movement due to the cherry blossom petals blowing through the air.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Man Ray: The Dadaist Photographer

Man Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitzky in 1890 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began to work in 1911 as a painter and sculptor. He was very associated with many european artists at the time, especially those in France. In 1915 he turned to photography as a way of expressing himself. Two years later he became the co-founder of the New York Dada group with his friend Marcel Duchamp. He tried to bring the dada movement to full life but found little success in New York so he moved to Montparnasse in Paris, France. He fell in love with french singer Kiki who became one of his main models for many of his photographs.

During the next 20 years, he refined his art and revolutionized the art of photography in general. James Joyce and Jean Cocteau are some of the most notable people to pose before his camera.

The photo above is called "Le Violon d'Ingres" and was taken in 1924. The photo depicts the back of a woman with cello f-holes painted on.

"Tears" - 1924

In 1925, Man Ray was one of the first to be included in the Surrealist exhibit at the Gallerie Pierre in Paris. He was included with works by Picasso, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Joan Miro, and Andre Masson.

Man Ray returned to the states in Los Angeles, California but settled back in Paris for the end of his life. He died in 1976.

"Noir et blanch" - 1936
"Woman with Long Hair" - 1929, "Tears" (full) - 1924