Week Six - Nan Goldin

Canon 6Dii / Sigma 24-105mm (35mm) / 1/180sec / f6.3 / ISO200

31st JULY 2023


We attended the Nan Goldin’s “Ballad of Sexual Dependency” at the NGA.

Themes: “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” is a visceral and personal exploration of human relationships, identities, and the complexities of life, presented through a collection of intimate and emotionally charged photographs. The themes explored include intimacy and relationships, sexuality and identity, drug use and addiction, vulnerability and authenticity, urban life and subcultures.

Which photograph or series stood out to you the most and why?

·         How did Goldin’s work challenge traditional notions of relationships and intimacy?

Select one emotion or mood that you feel strongly represents a theme from the exhibition (e.g., love, vulnerability, isolation). Capture an image that conveys this emotion through composition, lighting, and subject matter. Write a sentence explaining how your chosen image reflects the selected theme.

I found this exhibition quite confronting, while when discussing with my fellow students it would appear that some weren’t as affected by Nan’s work as I was. I feel as though her themes and art hit quite close to home. I decided that I would take my approach to this challenge quite literally (I explained this in class but would prefer not to write it here).

In terms of technique, I attempted to use Nan’s technique of bad flash to recreate the feeling/mood conveyed in her photos. I used a speedlight on my camera and aimed to get the shadow of the doorway in the frame.

– Real, raw and great –  very quirky.
– Interesting composition, use of negative space at the top of the photograph.
– Colours are great and interesting.
“More Nan Goldin than Nan Goldin”.

Just a note on the feedback, I actually didn’t receive much. I think this was perhaps for a couple of reasons – I explained the photograph quite thoroughly and the discussion turned into quite an emotional and raw discourse. Secondly I do wonder if my photograph was confronting to some and they didn’t wish to comment/know what to say.

I love this style of photography and I am so grateful for the nice feedback. I would like to explore this documentary style of photography more in the future as I feel like I have some stories to tell that would be interesting in this style. I don’t really have much else to say other than I really enjoyed this shoot and was actually one of my favourite shots of the year.