Summer Project Task One – Research

  1. Read Charlotte Cotton’s Book “The Photograph as Contemporary Art”, consider it as a starting point for further research on any artists referred to.
  2. Consider and reflect on Chapter 5 “Intimate Life”
  3. Use this as a starting point to inform a set of diaristic images of your own


Chapter 5 “Intimate Life”: Photographers Mentioned

Nan Goldin (b. 12th September 1953)

American Photographer

  • ‘Drag Queens’
  • ‘The Ballad of Sexual Dependency’ (1979-1986)
  • ‘I’ll be your Mirror’ (1992)
  • ‘The Other Side’ (1993)


(Please see further background information on pages eight and nine)

Nobuyoshi Araki (b. 25th May 1940)

Japanese Photographer and Contemporary Artist

  • “Grainy, dynamic photographs of Japanese street life”
  • “He was part of one of the most daring and experimental periods for photography”
  • “He is the epitome of the promiscuous photographer”

(The Photograph as Contemporary Art)

Larry Clark (b. 19th January 1943)

American Photographer and Film Director

  • ‘Tulsa’ (1971)
  • ‘Teenage Lust’ (1992)
  • ‘The Perfect Childhood’ (1993)
  • ‘Kids’ (1995)
Juergen Teller (b. 1964)

Fashion Photographer and Artist

  • ‘Go Sees’ (1999)
  • ‘Märchenstüberl’ (2002)
Corinne Day (19th February 1962 – 27th August 2010)

British Fashion Photographer, Documentary Photographer, and Fashion Model

  • ‘Diary’ (2000)
Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968)

German Fine-Art Photographer and Artist

Jack Pierson (b. 1960)

Photographer and Artist

  • ‘Silver Jackie’ (1991)
Richard Billingham (b. 25th September 1970)

English Photographer and Artist

  • ‘Ray’s a Laugh’ (1996)
Nick Waplington (b. 1970)

Photographer and Artist

  • ‘Safety in Numbers’ (1996)
Anna Fox (b.1961)

British Photographer

  • ‘Rise and Fall of Father Christmas’ (2002)
Ryan McGinley (b. 17th October 1977)

American Photographer

Toshikawa Hiromi (b. 1976)

Japanese Photographer and Artist

‘Hiromix’ (1998)

Yang Yong (b.1975)

Chinese Photographer and Artist

Alessandra Sanguinetti (b. 1968)

American Photographer (lived in Argentina for 33 years)

Annelies Strba (b. 7th October 1947)

Swiss Photographer and Video Artist

  • ‘Shades of Time’ (1998)
Ruth Erdt (b. 1965)

Half Dutch Photographer

Elinor Carucci (b. 11th June 1971)

Israeli-American photographer

Tina Barney (b. 1945)

American Artist Photographer

Larry Sultan (13th July 1946 – 13th December 2009)

American Photographer

  • ‘Pictures from Home’ (1992)
Mitch Epstein (b. 1952)

American Photographer

  • ‘Family Business’ (2003)
Colin Gray (b. 1956)

Commercial and Fine-Art Photographer

Elina Brotherus (b. 1972)

Finnish Photographer and Artist

  • ‘Suites Françoises’ (1999)
Breda Beban (b. 1952)

Serbian Photographer

‘The Miracle of Death’ (2000)



Chapter 5 “Intimate Life”: Important Quotes

  • “… ‘Mistakes’. Out-of-kilter framing, blur, uneven flashlight, the colouration of the machine-printed snap – all are used” (Page 137, Line 20)
  • “What remains absent in such images, however, are things we perceive as culturally mundane or taboo.” (Page 138, Line 7)
  • “Intimate photography is an exercise in pathology, an editing and sequencing of seemingly unguarded, private moments that reveal the origins and manifestations of the subjects’ emotional lives.” (Page 138, Line 28)
  • “A new book or exhibition is rarely judged an outright failure because that would suggest a moral criticism of the photographer’s life, as well as of their motivations.” (page 141, Line 40)
  • “The photography of private and daily existence has, as we have seen, often been realised with a snapshot aesthetic or openness on the part of the photographer to represent the spontaneity of domestic life.” (Page 159, Line 9)
  • “The intensity of most projects comes from the palpable sense of a photographers visualising a subject in subtle ways from a position of intense emotional knowledge, capturing everything from the simplest human gesture to the symbolism of what from the outside might seem like unexpressive details” (Page 162, Line 17)
  • “Photography is used here to communicate the shared experience of gradual personal loss, as well as being a means of catharsis for the photographer” (Page 165, Line 3)
  • “… the photography of intimate life has turned away from vibrant portrayal of circles of friends and domestic dramas towards more isolated, detached and solitary portraits” (Page 165, Line 6)


Photographer Nan Goldin: Quotes from Chapter 5

  • “Goldin was consciously sequencing her photographs into themes that directed the viewer to think beyond the specifics of her subjects’ lives and about general narratives of universal experience” (Page 139, Line 26)
  • “Goldin’s approach had been accepted and celebrated as a successful strategy for photographic art-making” (Page 139, Line 43)
  • “Although Goldin is sometimes perceived as being exclusively a recorder of bohemian and counterculture lifestyles, as her life and those of her intimate circle change, new subjects emerge.” (Page 141, Line 11)
  • “… Her intimate photographs are a genuine record of a personal life and not simply pseudo-empathetic observations” (Page 141, Line 25)
  • “Her emergence through a liberal-arts education… additionally allays concerns about Goldin’s glamorizing or embellishing the lifestyles she portrays” (Page 141, Line 34)


Nan Goldin: Biography and Background Information

  • 12th September 1953 – Nancy Goldin was born in Washington, D.C.
  • 1965 – Her sister, Barbra Holly, committed suicide when Goldin was only 12 years old
  • 1968 – When Goldin was 15, one of her teachers from her second school, the Satya Community School, introduced her to her first camera
  • Mid-1970’s – Goldin attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • 1973 – She held her first solo show which portrayed images of the gay and transsexual groups within Boston
  • 1977 – Goldin graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts
  • 1978 – She moved to New York City (the Lower East Side of Manhattan to be precise) and began to photograph the alternative circle in which she had merged in to
  • 1979 – Goldin’s first public display (‘The Ballad of Sexual Dependency’)  in New York City was shown in a variety of clubs where her photos where used as part of live performances, or revealed to a specific music playlist
  • 1992 – Goldin published the photographic series ‘I’ll be your Mirror’
  • 1993 – A year later, she issued another set of images called ‘The Other Side’
  • Since 1995 – Goldin’s work has included a wider variety of subjects including different landscapes and skylines, and also collaborative book projects with Nobuyoshi Araki (mentioned previously)
  • 2006 – She opened an exhibition in New York entitled ‘Chasing a Ghost’, which included work of her sisters suicide
  • 10th November 2007  – Goldin received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography
  • (Since 1992 – She has been embodied by the Matthew Marks Gallery in America and the Yvon Lambert Gallery in Paris)


Research Material:


Nan Goldin: “Siobhan at the A House #1” (1990)


“One of the many qualities of Goldin’s photography is her capacity to combine a sense of the emotionally charged and spontaneous observation of her loved ones with a highly developed aesthetic sensibility. This unguarded and frank portrait has a rich colouration and painterly quality.”


Analysation of Nan Goldin’s Photograph

Shutter Speed Suggestion = 1/50 seconds
Aperture Suggestion = f/8

The focal point of this photograph is the woman’s face that is situated to the left of the middle-centre third. Faces are usually the main focal point within portraiture photography, even if they have been covered with something or, in this case, have blurred due to a slow shutter speed. Once the viewer has taken in the woman’s facial features, they then begin to scan the slightly blurred background in a clockwise rotation, heading to the door, then the ceiling, and finally the table found in the middle-right third. The mise-en-scene within this photograph, along with the quality of the print, also gives the viewer evidence as to which era the photograph was taken in. It is only then that the viewer returns to the woman’s face and begins to scrutinise the blue, roughly-buttoned shirt that the woman is wearing. The viewer then uses the blue sleeves of the shirt as leading lines towards the hands where they then notice that this woman is, indeed, half naked.  Once the viewer has undergone this realisation, they then appear shocked and move back to the blue, buttoned shirt before understanding that this photograph was most likely taken after some form of sexual act. Goldin has captured this form of nudity in such an innocent way due to the snapshot style of photography that she has encompassed. Nudities tend to elicit either a voyeuristic or dainty reaction from the viewer; however, due to the woman’s facial expression in this photograph, they merely feel like they are observing a general documentation of everyday life. On the other hand, the colours within this photograph can be seen to represent a much deeper narrative. The bright green in the background can be used to symbolise fertility, nature, and life, which can all be associated with the sexuality and realism shown in this photograph. However, the patterned effect that is the dominant feature of the wallpaper can be used to embody the masked yet undying need to settle down and suggests, along with evidence from the woman’s entourage that she greatly wishes to stop this sexual scandal. In contrast, the bright colour blue does not only create a dynamic difference between the colours, and therefore within the photograph, but can also be used to signify stability and security which proposes that this woman does indeed want to stop and settle down, but that she actually wants to do it with the person behind the camera, her lover.