Nan Goldin is an American Photographer, best known for her work documenting the LGBT+ community. I’ve chosen to highlight one of her self portraits, ‘Nan One Month After Being Battered 1984’. It’s a piece intended to shock and raise an awareness of domestic abuse.
What I like the most about this piece is how personal it is. Domestic Abuse and rape is unfortunately not always reported, and Goldin chooses to document and share her very personal experience in the form of this photographic self portrait. I’m drawn in by the redness of her eye, framed by bruising, which matches her bright red lipstick. Wearing makeup makes the portrait feel deliberate and formal, this wasn’t a casual, candid snapshot.
I’ve seen photographs of women with bruised faces and black eyes before, on posters and adverts raising awareness of abuse. It feels very different knowing that she took and shared this photograph herself. I find this piece to be as confessional and self-reflective as some of Emin’s work. I think that the title is very poignant as well, as I’m not really aware of how long it takes bruises and black eyes to heal, but the title dates the incident as a month ago. It’s shocking how long she would have her face so obviously ‘battered’, and it makes me wonder how it affected her life around that time.
More of Goldin’s work can be seen here.