Jim Goldberg: Rich and Poor | Conscientious Photography MagazineJim Goldberg describes himself as "a documentary storyteller". Often, the stories he tells are epic in scope: he spent 10 years among homeless young people in his native San Francisco for his series, Raised by Wolves. And his project Open See , which tells the stories of refugees, migrants and trafficked groups trying to find new homes in Europe which he started in and won him the Cartier-Bresson award and the Deutsche Borse prize still marches on. Recently, Goldberg has been digitising his huge analog archive, a process that has prompted him to re-edit his older series with the benefit of hindsight. A reworked version of Raised By Wolves, now an expensive collector's item, is promised, but the first fruit of this process is a new version of Rich and Poor , which has been out of print since Rich and Poor looks at the social divide in s and 80s America in Goldberg's now characteristic style — black-and-white portraits accompanied by handwritten texts from the subjects. The use of ephemera is central to his way of working.
The photographer who caught the heartbreak on both sides of America's social divide
After all, to a fairly large extent the world of art photography is built on, well, exactly this: very wealthy people buying pieces of paper, onto or into which photographs have been fixed, for a lot of money. And even if we were to ignore the world of galleries and collectors, to expand our view — the contemporary art photography scene essentially is based on a luxury position. Nobody needs photographs to survive. Beyond the very basic needs everybody has, art does serve very important purposes. The moment you lose touch of this basic fact you might be in trouble. There are a lot of people in the First World that have Third World problems.
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We have made some changes to our site. If you are looking for our image archives and licencing service, please visit Magnum Pro. Jim Goldberg. The representation of poverty is at once political and personal, revealing as much about society as it does about the person who documents it. But what is universal, is that the stories are never just about poverty; they are about powerlessness, prejudice, stigma, suppression and a myriad of other complex structures of suffering.
From to , Goldberg photographed the wealthy and destitute of San Francisco, creating a visual document that has since become a landmark work. - Over several years in the late s and early s, Jim Goldberg photographed and interviewed occupants of a residential hotel in San Francisco, and asked the subjects of his photographs to comment on the photograph in their own hand. Goldberg then photographed the wealthy trustees of his art school, and similarly asked them to comment on their environments and outlooks.