Nan Goldin is a great documenter of both ordinary life and the edges of society. As a photographer working in Boston in the 1970s, she come to prominence with her first exhibition on gay and transgender people in the city, in 1978. This was a springboard for her to move to New York City and to capture the energy and ethos of the new-wave youth culture that was a huge movement of the time. Her work has at times courted controversy – her depiction of heroin addicts seems to show it as a romantic pastime rather than a damaging drug addiction.
Nan Goldin confesses to being swept up by ‘junkie glamour’ when young, but as she matured she saw this as an unhelpful and unsustainable ideal and has spent time in recovery from opioid dependency. She identified it as a reaction to a suffocating childhood spent in the suburbs. As well as this provocative subject, Goldin has also photographed a huge variety of topics, including: family life, water, babies, landscapes and the New York City skyline. Her work is often presented as a slide show, featuring up to 800 photographs shown over 45 minutes. She now has homes in NYC, Paris and Berlin.