Photography is an art form that emerges when content choice meets optical physics. Our worlds are so full of stimuli that it is literally impossible to process all of it. We filter, we go on auto-pilot, we all have our own view finder that is unique to our own life experiences and tiny variations in our biology. My favorite art forms are all “non-fiction” because I adore the art of choice. I consume journalism, personal essays, and photographs endlessly. I am a voyeur who isn’t content with just looking into a window of someone’s life. I want to look at someone else looking into another person’s window. I’m just a big slut like that.
Nan Goldin took pictures and most of her subjects are now dead. She took pictures of the underground subcultures that are rarely given sympathy let alone empathy. She gets so close to her images that we are forced to see ourselves in them, even if it is someone who has just slipped into the nod of heroin, in the middle of a gender transformation, dying of a disease that no one had yet named let alone understood, or her own self portrait of the battering her boyfriend had given her. She took pictures of sex and masturbation of all kinds.
Nan Goldin has also had her share of censorship over photos. She is someone who really forces the question of art v. pornography. There is a very fine line and the tension is exciting.