The Genius of Photography – “We are family “

Nan Goldin –  “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” was a body of work by Nan Goldin which featured photographs of her life as she grew up, partied and did drugs with the people in her life in which she described as her “tribe”. One can view Goldin’s photography as almost a confessional as she photographs personal and sometimes harsh points of her life and the lives of those around her.

This body of work was originally presented as a slideshow containing 900 carefully picked images. Goldin then set the slideshow to music that she chose in accordance with the message and lyrics that she wanted the soundtrack along side her images to convey.


Diane Arbus – When viewing Arbus’ photography one can see her fascination with individuality ever so clearly. One could almost say that she used her photography as a way to exploit, steal, and represent people lives in which she referred to as “freaks”.  She was in awe of the unique and used her expressive photography as a way to expose true individuality.

My favourite image by Diane Arbus is photograph of the “Man being a Woman” shot in 1960. This image stood out to me because not only did Arbus shoot a full scale image of the man/woman, as opposed to her usual close-up photographs of faces but she also exposed a part of her/him that displayed a true sense of individuality. Compared to many of the other images by Arbus where she shows us “freaks” that are physically individual, and different from the norm in this image we are exposed to someone who spiritually, and emotionally is seen as different.

Man being a Woman, 1960 

Duane Michaels – When speaking about family photographs and portraits Michaels believes that although these images may reveal how things appear on the outside that they do not truly reveal the in depth things that matter within the family. He said that a photo of a group of relatives may appear to reveal things that are hidden but that they can’t truly reveal the relationships and feelings that are going on behind the frames of the photograph.

I Remember Pittsbuurgh, 1982

Phillip Lorca di Corcia – Hustlers was a body of work by di Corcia in which he depicted male prostitutes. One part of this body of works that interested many is the way in which di Corcia paid his models. Di Corcia paid his models using the funding that he had received to photograph his next subject. Many people over the years have criticized him for this as people saw the fact that he was using the tax payers money to pay prostitutes as negligent and dis-respectful of the generous funding he had received. 1536LS_diCorcia_Chris.jpg

Larry Clarke – Larry Clarke’s book “Tulsa” was a book that inspired many photographers such as Nan Goldin. It was a collection of black and white photographs by Clarke that cataloged the lives of young people in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This body of works caused a widespread need for autobiographical photography as it opened up a whole new genre that some people called the “impolite genre”. This book was extremely important as it opened the door for other photographers wanting to take photo’s of their own lives as it gave permission to photograph “your own”.

“At the end of the day, what I show is real life. I tell the truth. And the truth can be shocking.” – Larry Clarke

untitled 1970 c  larry clark courtesy luhring augustine new york.jpg

Richard Billingham – Richard Billingham’s project “Ray’s Laugh” started as he began to take photographs to allow him to paint things he really saw. People often see Billingham’s work as exploitative but one can clearly see that although the images may exploit and expose the things that his subjects may want hidden that at the end of the day he introduces them to beautiful and artistic photography.


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