Intimate Life

Intimate Life

  • Intimate photography uses the aesthrtic qualities of family snap shots, as this is recognised by the viewer and they can tell the subject and narrative of the image is very personal. This is why some images are not technically strong as photographs.
  • It can show the subtext, which could be hiding in those traditional family photos. The conflict behind the family members that wont stand next to each other or the hidden lives of the family “black sheep.”

/ Leanne Arnlod /

Nan Goldin (American photographer)

Goldin began taking photographs as a teenager in Boston, MA. Her earlier works, black-and-white images of drag queens, were celebration of the subcultural life style of the community to which she belonged.

Nan Goldin clearly has showed her culture and lifestyle through her images. As she started her photography career from early age, she, as all teenagers, had different view/idea about “realxing”… I think it was one of the main reasons why she started to take photos of drag queens and the slowely build up her portrait shoots of her friends, lovers and family.

I think most of the art work she produced and displayed was offensive and odd, for those days. No one could of imagine that these “happy family portraits” could turn into this vulnerable and “ugly” truth.

‘One Month After Being Battered’

Intense red blood in the white of her swollen left eye mirrors the shade of her lipstick. Dark bruises colour the skin around it and below her right eye. In contrast to her physical damage she defiantly offers to the camera, she appears well groomed. Her hair is glossy and well brushed and, in addition to the bright red lipstick, she is wearing dangly earrings and nacklace.

She has photographed herself against a piece of dark wooden furniture and a white embroidered curtain that appears bluish in the artificial night-time light. The dark shadow behind her head indicate the use of flash bulb.

/  http://www.tate.org/art/artworks/goldin-nan-one-month-after-being-battered-p78045/ /

Nan Goldin, Battered

My view before I read this text in Tate website was – “What a terrible photo.” I assumed that she hasn’t paid any attention to the composition and the lighting. The image isn’t as strong as it could be, apart from the fact that there is a woman who has been battered, which gives the image the most “wow” effect.

I thought that this is one of the cases where an amature picks up the camera and takes a random photo. Clearly she knew how to present herself at the best in the worst situation.

There is a lot of detail I didn’t paid any attention mostly because, I judged the image straight after I saw it. It exposed a moment of woman’s personal life, bold with contrast of poor and tacky lifestyle.Straight away I didn’t feel sorry for her, because I assumed that she was an alcoholic or a drug addict, so she must have deserved it. ( I know that it wasn’t the right judgment … )

Now, when I have heard the reason and have read the story behind it, it doesn’t matter that the image isn’t strong – either composition wise or even the lighting. What I care is the concept, that she did it for herself no one else. She took this photo to remind herself not to go back to this situation and never ever fall for the same mistake. Love it!