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Nan Goldin’s “Amanda In The Mirror”
Nan Goldin’s “Amanda In The Mirror”Photography Nan Goldin

Rose McGowan on Nan Goldin’s ‘Amanda In The Mirror’

In Dazed’s ‘Basic Instinct’ series we ask the cult actress and director to lay bare her emotions looking at the seminal image shot by one of our favourite photographers

What was your first thought when looking at the image?

Rose McGowan: I didn’t think, I felt.

What kind of story do you think this person has?

Rose McGowan: Women are fairly mysterious, I’m going to leave her to mystery.

What can you tell about their life from this photo?

Rose McGowan: I know yet I don’t know. That’s what’s powerful. Like in life, you think a person is going to be a certain way, and then you’re entirely surprised when you hear their story. I want to know her story too.

What emotion does this provoke in you when you look at it?

Rose McGowan: I have a pretty intense and visceral response to this photograph. I love women shooting women. I believe it takes a woman to know a woman’s interior moment. It’s so subtle, the photographer has to know what they’re seeing. That’s one of the many things that makes Goldin great.

What do you like and dislike about the image?

Rose McGowan: I love the colour grade, her saturation level and what she captured was fleeting and extraordinary. I don’t really think of art in terms of like or dislike because my brain isn’t inside the artist’s head and I have to respect that. That said, I would be so down to have this photograph live with me, I’m very selective of what I keep around me and this piece truly moves me. 

Does it remind you of anything, or anyone?

Rose McGowan: I know this girl, I was this girl.

What do you think happened after this image was taken?

Rose McGowan: I hope they spent hours developing the film and talking and drinking. 

If you could write a short story from the subject’s perspective...

Rose McGowan: I came in here for a fix. I stare in the mirror, perhaps the for the fifth or sixth time today. I am stripping myself bare to inject the dark whispers that weigh on my mind. Every time I look in a mirror, a challenge to myself and every time a challenge I lose. Who is it staring back? Am I looking at myself with my own eyes or is it society I see? Am I seeing myself as me? Who is me? Goddamnit these overhead lights. I’m losing again. More powder. I challenge you.