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Jim Goldberg / photos & words

Discussion in 'Philosophy of Photography' started by bartjeej, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    When I get tired of working on my thesis, I flick through a couple of pages in the Magnum Magnum book that's in my university's library. Yesterday I saw the work of Jim Goldberg and it blew me away. For me, photos and words have always belonged together, that's just how I like to get my thoughts or feelings across, but his work takes combining photos and words to a whole different level. Several of the photos in that book were truly heartbreaking. It strengthens me in my resolve to ignore those who say good photos should stand on their own and not need text (although many of his photos are also really strong stand-alone). It also makes me want to get a polaroid camera for when I travel, to allow the people I meet to provide the words with their photos.
     
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I hadn't seen his work before. Thanks for bumming me out.
     
  3. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    it's not generally very happy stuff, is it? I think it's the sort of work you go through in one sitting, that makes an impact on you and gets you thinking about things for quite some time, but not the sort of thing you want to look at on a daily basis, even though for his subjects it's the daily reality of life.
     
  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    If I didn't live and work in a city and see people like this daily, I would probably like it more. I just see too many people mired in sadness (and hopelessness) every day.
     
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  5. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
  6. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    that looks like some of the work I saw yesterday. The polaroids with the writing on them were the ones that were too bleak for me. Most of them are so dark the almost read like satire.
     
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  7. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    I began looking...and then started to feel the way you did, Luke. There were a couple that seemed quite posed - which doesn't mean they're "bad", that's just my observation. Sometimes it seemed as though he could have been influenced by Diane Arbus, though that may well only be my inference.
     
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  8. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    ^ Yes, BB, that's the one I meant. It is very bleak indeed. Thankfully in the Netherlands we don't have quite so many of those situations (because of our welfare state perhaps), although I once lived in an appartment where the other resident was a more-or-less single mom in these sort of circumstances. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see her two young children already having a massive lack of development compared to kids in more favorable circumstances, like I had growing up. Like you said, Luke, it's the utter hopelessness that's the worst.

    To me, adding the words of the subjects to the photos really adds to the impact, which is why I admire his work, as saddening as it is to look at.
     
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  9. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Thank you, Bart. Yes, I think the words help me, as well.
     
  10. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    This is good stuff.

    The 14 year old pregnant with triplets is appallingly beautiful.

    Appallingly.

    I would want to see his work on a wall though