Monday, 25 July 2011

Photographer Nan Goldin's best shots 'I let the children be themselves, and try to find out who they are'

From the Guardian

"I don't photograph adults so much any more. I don't have a child and, psychologically, my focus on them is a lot about me wishing that I did. But I am a godmother to friends' children around the world – in Berlin, New York, Sweden and Italy. I don't remember much ever feeling like a child, so maybe photographing them triggers memories. They are wild and magical, as if from another planet. And they haven't been socially conditioned yet, so they can scream and express how they feel publicly. Sometimes I envy them. When I am in a group of people, the children and I find each other's eyes, and end up laughing at the same, unspoken thing.

I've been taking pictures of children since the early 1980s, and it's become increasingly important to me. I see a continuum in the children of my friends, some of whom have died. It's about hoping that my friends will bring up a new species of people.
Slideshows are my most important medium; they are like films that can constantly be edited. They always grow, as I show them over a period of years. These pictures are from the second version of a slideshow that was first shown last year in Athens. The images are edited and timed to a soundtrack. The music came first: all the songs are sung by children except the first, which is about pregnancy.

This is one of my most optimistic works: not concentrated on loss, death or darkness. With other pieces, I have wanted people to faint, throw up or cry. I've also wanted to touch them and make them laugh. Here, I don't want people to faint or throw up. But I do want them to take away something about this puritanical new witch hunt over children and their sexuality. Everybody came out of the body of a woman, and that should not be forgotten, or be frightening. It amazes me that there's a controversy over public breastfeeding, that it can be considered disgusting. Or over children running around naked, especially in the US. Children shouldn't be afraid of their own bodies; it's the worst thing you can do to a human being.


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