Nan Goldin Research

The work by Nan Goldin called The Ballad of Sexual Dependency began in 1979; this was just by her continuously taking photographs of her friends.  She produced hundreds and hundreds of photographs, showing her friends and also herself. In New York this was the time of the new wave music scene and hard drug taking was taking place. She documented her life around this era and her friends, as well as the gay subculture.  The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is a title taken from a song in Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. The images that Nan Goldin produced show aesthetic images of moments when drug use took place; there was violence (this she shows in her own self portraits of when she was beaten up), aggressive couples and autobiographical moments.  Most of  the ‘Ballad’ subjects that she had shown were dead by the 1990’s and were lost to either drug overdose or AIDS.  In a lot of these images she portrays her close friends, Greer Lankton and Cookie Mueller. In addition to ‘Ballad’, she combined her photographs in two other series; I’ll Be Your Mirror (from a song on The Velvet Underground’s ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ album) and All by Myself. In the slide of photographs accompanied by the music there are in total 690 slides and the piece is 43 minutes long.  I have only ever seen this work of Nan Goldin’s in a book and never knew that she did a slide with music until I was told by Suky Best. I think the music really goes pleasantly well with the people that she is documenting and also what she is showing in the photographs, the loss of people and the lives of drug takers. The music and the images keep you engaged, you can kind of see what she is trying to say in her photographs but you just want to know everything about everyone that you see in the slide. I felt when I viewed these slides the music made the images stay in my mind more than if it was not with music.  I think that this would be a great way to show my FMP of Jean’s life. A presentation of my own images along with hers and music accompanying it and maybe if it is possible edits from films of when she was over in Ethiopia and Jamaica.

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