The power in Nan Goldin's work is born out of her ability to document the drama in the mundane moments of life. As in her seminal book The Ballad of Sexual Dependency
, the subjects of Ten Years After
are Goldin's friends and she is expert at conveying the emotional charge she seems to feel around them. The photographs depict them at home in and around Naples, Italy, in 1986 and again in 1996. Cookie, Vittorio, and Daniele--to whose memory the book is dedicated--figure heavily in the earlier pictures. The images are of everyday life: the three friends walking a dog in the woods, Cookie alone in the bathtub, Cookie and Daniele casually posing as if for a quick snapshot. But Goldin's lens transforms these shots into sublime images. Cookie's bath is so drenched in yellow sunlight that viewers feel there's a chance they're peering into heaven. Rebecca at the beach holding an infant to her breast, with a towel draped over her head as a sun shield, is as lovely and intense as any depiction of the Madonna and child. When Goldin returns to Naples 10 years later, the three friends are gone, and more of Goldin's images are absent of people altogether. Color-saturated landscapes, building interiors, and introspective human subjects convey a strong sense of the passage of time and its effect on personal histories.
The book is compact and the color photographs expertly reproduced on heavy paper stock. This design makes it very easy for readers to study both the photos and the accompanying writing, fittingly penned by the artist's friends and models Guido Costa and Cookie Mueller. --Jordana Moskowitz