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Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin has used her photography to honor both the courage and the gritty reality of subjects ranging from drag queens to new parents. Goldin began her love affair with photography at age fifteen, heavily influenced by Warhol, Fellini, and other avant-garde artists. She focused on gay and transgender subjects, particularly drag queens, whom she showed in an unusually positive light. She held her first solo show in Boston in 1973. She moved to New York in 1979, both reveling in the freedom of post-Stonewall gay and lesbian culture and becoming addicted to drugs, all while capturing the Bowery's various subcultures of drugs, music, art, and queer culture for her watershed 1986 series The Ballad of Sexual Dependency and her later series I’ll Be Your Mirror (1996). Over the years, she also began exploring other subjects with her unique perspective, from babies to skylines. While she usually shows her photographs in a slideshow format (beginning with a 1979 show at a nightclub), in 2006 she began incorporating film, music, and voiceover in Chasing a Ghost. She has been honored with retrospectives at the Whitney in 1996 and the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 2001, and was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 2006.

More on: Photography, Film
Nan Goldin
Full image
Nan Goldin in 2009. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Date of Birth
September 12, 1953
Place of Birth
Washington, District Of Columbia

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Nan Goldin." (Viewed on December 12, 2018) <>.


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