Love, Despair and Longing

love-despair-and-longing

PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION| PETER EMANUEL GOLDMAN

My straight photos, which miraculously reappeared after 50 years in a box sent from Paris, resemble my films to some extent and differ in others. The photos were mostly made at the time I was shooting Echoes and in the year following, before making Pestilent City, The Sensualists, and Wheel of Ashes in Paris. I would stage some scenes almost like I was directing a film—faces and shots of longing and loneliness, while many other photos were taken of friends, acquaintances, girlfriends, as well as  street scenes and people in Greenwich Village, especially at night.

What makes a good photo? Firstly, it is something you want to look at and keep looking at. It is not only what is in the photo but what is not. A good photo has a sort of mystery as if there is much more happening than what we see. While a film plays out the scene, the viewer of a straight photo must create his own story. The subject and composition reflect the inner eye of the photographer. Composition, light, subject, faces when lined up just right make an excellent photo.

What makes a good photo? Firstly, it is something you want to look at and keep looking at. It is not only what is in the photo but what is not. A good photo has a sort of mystery as if there is much more happening than what we see. While a film plays out the scene, the viewer of a straight photo must create his own story. The subject and composition reflect the inner eye of the photographer. Composition, light, subject, faces when lined up just right make an excellent photo.

In 1961, while riding the Métro in Paris, I was reading a critique of Boris Pasternak’s poems, when I realized I didn’t want to be an academic and write about other people’s work (I was studying history at the Sorbonne and scheduled to go to grad school at Berkeley the following year.) I knew I wanted to be an artist, but I didn’t know how or in what medium. But I was driven to create. Film and writing became my main areas of expression, but still photography was also very important to me. I only hope that you will look at the photos and keep looking. They are, after all, an external reflection of my inner self.

Peter Emanuel Goldman

As curator and art historian Jose-Antonio Navarrete says: “Goldman’s small and compact negative archive introduces an unknown chapter in the history of American photography from the early to the middle sixties and immediately beyond.  Sex, love, desire, passion, drugs, night life, sadness, despair, loneliness have its place in this archive.  A sensibility that approximates Goldman’s would not appear in photography until the following decade with Nan Goldin, the photographer of ‘sexual dependency.’”

This photo exhibition, presented for the first time in Spain, at Play-Doc, is possible thanks to the ArtMedia Gallery.

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