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Things we’ve learned since Nan Goldin joined Instagram

She still takes a great self-portrait, she’s a killer dominatrix, there’s a lot of rarely seen work coming our way, and more

Photographer Nan Goldin delivered an early Christmas present for her fans this year by launching an Instagram account. @nangoldinstudio first posted on 23 December – 31-years since she debuted her most notable work, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency – by sharing a rarely seen image. The photo, titled “Joey and Andres in Hotel, Askanischer Hof, Berlin 1992”, showed two lovers embracing in bed, and reintroduced Joey, a mainstay in Goldin’s work, having been photographed by her in various scenarios and cities such as Berlin and New York since the early 90s. However, Goldin has also been publishing lesser seen, or known, works, with photos from as recent as 2017. There’s a touching image of her mum; landscape shots and modern-day selfies; and rarely seen photos. Below are five things we’ve learned so far.

SHE STILL LOVES A SELFIE

Never shy about putting herself in the frame, Goldin’s various self-portraits have always been a part of her body of work. The most notable is “Nan one month after being battered”, a photograph from 1984 that is as harrowing as its title suggests. Described by the Tate as the “emotional climax” to The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, it marked the end of a long-term abusive relationship with a man named Brian, whom she met while working behind the bar at Tin Pan Alley on West 49th street. Thankfully, Goldin’s more recent selfies see her smirking in Milan this past September and also include a shot of half of her face and her signature curly red hair, captioned “Today by Alex”.

THE BALLAD OF DEPENDENCY ISN’T HER ONLY WORK

Okay, so we know this, but it’s refreshing to see works as up to date as 2017 – one in which Goldin photographs two women she calls Tjioe and Sasha kissing in a forest in Biesenthal, Germany. Other images range from Coney Island in the 90s, London is the 80s (“the golden age of squatting”, she captions), and Paris in 2012. The artist has previously expressed frustrations at being pigeon-holed by her famous series, telling the Tate in 2007, "(I’m) sick of being compartmentalised as a New York artist when there is no reality in that", adding, “I am so tired of being continuously put there". Clocking up 16k followers in less than two weeks, Instagram is proving to be the grounds to showcase the diversity of her oeuvre.

SHE MAKES A KILLER DOMINATRIX

Perhaps my favourite rarely seen image that’s been shared, is of Goldin standing in a kitchen as a dominatrix. Captioned “a long time ago”, Goldin faces the camera squarely in a leather dress complete with caging on her arms and chest.

SHE LOVES A LAUGH

Over the past day, Goldin has posted four photos of friends and family, such as writer and actress Cookie Mueller, the aforementioned Joey, her mother, and actress and cinematographer, Joana Preiss, all laughing. While Goldin’s work is known to be centred in a lot of seemingly good times – drag shows, parties, sex – it’s rare to see her subjects’ grinning from ear-to-ear.

SHE HAS A LOT OF WORK THAT MOST OF US HAVE PROBABLY NEVER SEEN

A rookie Google Image search by me shows that photos images such as “Sharon Niesp, Coney Island 1990”, “Trixie on the ladder NYC 1979”, and the previously noted, “Self portrait as a Dominatrix Boston 1977 (a long time ago)”, hadn’t surfaced online until Goldin posted them on her feed. With the rate in which Goldin has been posting, it feels like a sign that there are loads more to come.

For a comprehensive guide on Goldin, read our dA-Zed here