Jim Goldberg – Open See

February 1, 2010

I visited on the weekend the show Open See from Jim Goldberg in the Photographers Gallery. I actually just had stopped by for a quick look and to warm up from the crazy cold outside because I had thought I wouldn’t be so much into his work. Without having any expectations I really liked it and found his approach quite inspiring.

In Open See Goldberg documents the experiences of people who travel from war torn, socially and economically devastated countries, to make new lives in Europe. They have left often violent, oppressive, poverty-stricken or AIDS ravaged communities, in search of stability and the promise of a better future.

What I liked the most about Goldberg’s approach that he combined so many different media such as Polaroids, video, written text, ephemera, large and medium format photographs to document the topic he was interested in. The Polaroids were often defaced and written on by the people they portray. The words and images combined to tell intimate stories of past and present experiences. Faces and features are sometimes scratched out, coloured in, or marked in some way.

I had to think of my project If you are lucky, you get old and how I felt that just photographs are sometimes such limitation to tell stories of the people I met. I was already thinking then that I should include text written by the elderly about their past, dreams or feelings and to combine it with their picture. When I will continue the project I will definitely keep Jim Goldberg in mind.

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