Nan Goldin is a renowned photographer whose work often deals with groups on the margins.
After moving to New York, the setting for many of her most renowned photographs, she quickly became involved in the downtown New Wave scene, presenting slide shows of her images accompanied by music at punk rock venues such as the Mudd Club and later at art spaces. The ever-growing body of images she used in these slide shows formed the basis of The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1980–86). This series, with its snapshot-style portrayals of amorous or abusive couples, drug addiction, and intimate details of the artist's life, established Goldin as a major photographer when selections were shown at the Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1985. It was also presented at film festivals, such as the Edinburgh and Berlin festival (1985 and 1986, respectively). The life depicted in The Ballad of Sexual Dependency took its toll; many of the subjects of the series had died by the early 1990s, and in 1988 Goldin herself entered a rehabilitation clinic. She continued to candidly document her life, however, incorporating her hospital experiences into her work. Over time, her photographs have moved from representations of destructive youthful abandon to, most recently, scenes of parenthood and domesticity in increasingly international settings. In 1994, she published Tokyo Love, a series of images of Tokyo youth, in collaboration with Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki.