Jim Goldberg

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Jim Goldberg (born 1953) is an American photographer and writer whose work reflects long-term, in-depth collaborations with neglected, ignored, or otherwise outside-the-mainstream populations.

Artistic career[edit]

Goldberg is best known for his photographic books, multi-media exhibits and video installations, among them: Rich and Poor (1985), Nursing Home, Raised by Wolves (1995), Hospice, and Open See (2009). Goldberg photographs sub-cultures, creating photo collages, and including text with his photographs, often written by his subjects.

Goldberg is part of the social aims movement in photography, using a straightforward, cinéma vérité approach, based on a fundamentally narrative understanding of photography. Goldberg's empathy and the uniqueness of the subjects emerge in his works, "forming a context within which the viewer may integrate the unthinkable into the concept of self. Thus diffused, this terrifying other is restored as a universal." (Art Forum, Summer 1987)

Goldberg's work was featured with that of Robert Adams and Joel Sternfeld in a 1984 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art entitled "Three Americans"; the exhibition was described as "a show of politically charged and socially conscious images."[1]

In 1985 Goldberg's book Rich and Poor was published. The book includes photographs of people in their homes along with handwritten comments by them about their lives.[2] For example, the handwriting under the photograph reproduced on the front cover reads "I keep thinking where we went wrong. We have no one to talk to now, however, I will not allow this loneliness to destroy me,— I STILL HAVE MY DREAMS. I would like an elegant home, a loving husband and the wealth I am used to. Countess Vivianna de Bronville." Although the book received one mixed review shortly after publication,[3] other reviews were positive,[4][5] and it was later selected as one of the greatest photobooks of the 20th century.[2]

The photographs in a 1988 exhibition of Goldberg's "The Nursing Home Series" were accompanied by handwritten text by the nursing home residents who were the subjects of the photographs.[6] A review of a 1990 exhibition "Shooting Back: Photography by and About the Homeless" at the Washington Project for the Arts characterized the exhibition as "Issue Art" and characterized Goldberg as "a superior Issue Artist because he's a superior artist."[7]

A major mixed media exhibition by Goldberg concerning homeless children in California entitled "Raised by Wolves" began traveling in 1995 and was accompanied by a book of the same title.[8] A review of the exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art noted that Goldberg made reference to other artists and photographers; used photographs, videos, objects, and texts to convey meaning; and "let his viewers feel, in some corner of their psyches, the lure of abject lowliness, the siren call of pain."[8] Although the accompanying book received one mixed review shortly after publication,[9] it was described as "a heartbreaking novel with pictures",[8] and Martin Parr and Gerry Badger in their book The Photobook: A History praised it as "complex and thoughtful."[10]

A 1999 mixed media installation at the San Francisco Arts Commission gallery entitled "57/78/97" explored race relations in the U.S., including the Little Rock Crisis of 1957, the 1978 Regents of the University of California v. Bakke decision, and the year following the passage of California Proposition 209 (1996) concerning affirmative action.[11]

Selected photographs from a series by Goldberg called "The New Europeans," concerning refugees, immigrants, and trafficked people, were first exhibited in San Francisco in 2007.[12][13] One review stated that the photographs may leave the viewer "paralyzed by uncertainty about what might alleviate the injustices" depicted.[13] Part of the series came to be known as "Open See",[14] and Goldberg's book of that title was published in 2009 by Steidl.

Goldberg is a Professor of Photography and Fine Arts at the California College of the Arts[15] and has been a full member of the Magnum Photos agency since 2006.[16] He lives and works in San Francisco. His fashion, editorial and advertising work has appeared in numerous publications including W, Details, Flaunt, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Rebel, GQ, The New Yorker, and Dazed and Confused. He is represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York, the Stephen Wirtz Gallery in San Francisco, and Magnum Photos.[15]


  • 1971 Theology Major, Hofstra University, Long Island, New York, USA
  • 1975 Bachelor of Arts (Interdisciplinary Major in Photography and Education), Western Washington University, Washington, USA
  • 1979 Master of Fine Arts (Photography), San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, USA

Awards and grants[edit]

  • 1980 NEA Fellowship in Photography
  • 1983 Ruttenberg Fellowship
  • 1985 Cambridge Art Council Commission
  • 1985 Engelhard Award
  • 1985 Guggenheim Fellowship[17]
  • 1989 Mother Jones Photography Award
  • 1989 California Tamarack Foundation
  • 1989 T.B. Walker Foundation
  • 1989 Art Matters grant[18]
  • 1990 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowship in Photography
  • 1990 California Arts Council Fellowship
  • 1992 Glen Eagles Foundation Grant
  • 1992 Art Matters grant[18]
  • 1994 Highland Award
  • 1994 Roberts Foundation Grant
  • 1995 Ernst Haas Award (Photography Book of the Year for Raised by Wolves)
  • 1996 Eureka Fellowship, Fleishhaker Foundation[19]
  • 1996 Gerbode Foundation Grant[20]
  • 2001 The Art Council Award
  • 2003 Alpert Ucross Residency Prize
  • 2006 Documentary Photography Project Distribution Grant, Open Society Institute[21]
  • 2007 HCB Award, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson[22]
  • 2011 Deutsche Börse prize.[23]

Selected exhibitions[edit]


  • Nova Gallery, Vancouver, Canada


  • Equivalents Gallery, Seattle, USA


  • O.K. Harris Gallery, New York, USA
  • Bakersfield College, Bakersfield, USA


  • Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, USA


  • Houston Center for Photography, Houston, USA
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
  • Friends of Photography Gallery, Carmel, USA
  • Lightsong Gallery, Tucson, USA


  • Northlight Gallery, Tempe, USA
  • Ithaca College, Ithaca, USA
  • De Saisset Museum, Santa Clara, USA
  • G. H. Dalsheimer Gallery, Baltimore, USA


  • The Tartt Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA


  • Akron Art Museum, Akron, USA
  • Western Washington University, Bellingham, USA
  • Clarence Kennedy Gallery, Cambridge, USA
  • University Art Museum, Berkeley, USA


  • Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, D.C., USA
  • Invisible People - Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, USA[6]


  • Capp Street Project, San Francisco, USA
  • University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, USA


  • Shooting Back: Photography by and About the Homeless - Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, D.C., USA[7]
  • Art at the Anchorage - Creative Time, New York, USA


  • Art in General, New York, USA





  • Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, USA


  • Rich and Poor - Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, Canada
  • 57/78/97 - San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, USA[11]




  • The New Europeans - Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, USA[13]


  • Raised By Wolves - Les Rencontres, Arles, France[26]
  • Open See - The Photographer's Gallery, London, UK[14]
  • Open See - Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, France[27]


  • Jim Goldberg - Parco 2, Pordenone Contemporary Art Exhibition Site Via Bertossi - Pordenone F.V.G. ITALY - 6 November 2010-30 January 2011



  • Goldberg, Jim. Rich and poor: photographs. New York: Random House, 1985. ISBN 0-394-74156-0.
  • Goldberg, Jim. Raised by wolves. Zurich and New York: Scalo, 1995. ISBN 1-881616-50-9.
  • Goldberg, Jim, Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, Jack Radcliffe, and Kathy Vargas. Hospice: a photographic inquiry. Boston: Little, Brown, in association with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and National Hospice Foundation, 1996. ISBN 0-8212-2259-7.
  • Goldberg, Jim. It ended sad but I love where it began. Oakland, California: These Birds Walk, 2007 (Kin series, book 4).
  • Goldberg, Jim, and Wolf Böwig. War is only half the story: the Aftermath Project. Volume 1. New York: Aperture, 2008. ISBN 978-1-59711-042-6.
  • Goldberg, Jim. Open see. Göttingen, Germany: Steidl, 2009. ISBN 978-3-86521-826-1.


  • 2007 Aperture Magazine, Aperture Foundation, USA


  1. ^ Grundberg, Andy. A new era of image-making. New York Times, 30 December 1984. Accessed 29 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b Roth, Andrew, editor. The book of 101 books: seminal photographic books of the 20th century. New York: PPP Editions in association with Roth Horowitz LLC, 2001. ISBN 0-9670774-4-3.
  3. ^ Depietro, Thomas. A touch of two classes. New York Times, 30 March 1986. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  4. ^ Eder, Richard. Ex libris. Los Angeles Times, 8 December 1985.
  5. ^ Groenfeldt, Tom. An art with depth of field. The Record (New Jersey), 17 January 1986.
  6. ^ a b Pincus, Robert L. 'Invisible People' come to life in stirring photographic show. San Diego Union, April 3, 1988.
  7. ^ a b Richard, Paul. Making an issue of it - in the post-postmodern look, the power's in the message. Washington Post, 24 September 1990.
  8. ^ a b c d Richard, Paul. Finding beauty in desperation - at the Corcoran, Jim Goldberg's stirring photos of runaway children. Washington Post, 18 September 1995.
  9. ^ Woodward, Richard B. Runaways. New York Times, 15 October 1995. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  10. ^ Parr, Martin, and Gerry Badger. The photobook: a history. Volume II. London & New York: Phaidon, 2006. Page 303. ISBN 0-7148-4433-0.
  11. ^ a b Miller, Alicia. Jim Goldberg at the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery.] Artweek, volume 30, number 5, pages 17-18, May 1999.
  12. ^ Stephen Wirtz Gallery. Jim Goldberg. The new Europeans. Exhibition dates: October 4 - November 10, 2007. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  13. ^ a b c Baker, Kenneth. Jim Goldberg's brave images are more than just art. San Francisco Chronicle, 03 November 2007. Accessed 24 January 2010.
  14. ^ a b O'Hagan, Sean. Jim Goldberg: Open See. The Observer, 1 November 2009. Accessed 24 January 2010.
  15. ^ a b California College of the Arts. Faculty. Jim Goldberg. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  16. ^ Magnum Photos. Jim Goldberg. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  17. ^ John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Fellows. Jim Goldberg. 1985. Creative Arts - Photography. Accessed 27 January 2010.
  18. ^ a b Art Matters. Past grantees. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  19. ^ Fleishhacker Foundation. Eureka Fellowship program recipients. Accessed 27 January 2010.
  20. ^ Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation. 1996 arts and culture grants. Accessed 27 January 2010.
  21. ^ Open Society Institute OSI Documentary Photography Project Distribution Grant winners announced. 15 March 2007. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  22. ^ Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson. Jim Goldberg, winner of the HCB Award 2007. 13 June 2007. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  23. ^ Guardian. [1]. 26 April 2011. Accessed 26 April 2011.
  24. ^ Johnson, Ken. Art in review; Jim Goldberg -- 'Two Stories'. New York Times, 7 January 2005. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  25. ^ Stephen Bulger Gallery. Jim Goldberg. In the open see. September 10 - October 29, 2005. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  26. ^ O'Hagan, Sean. Sons, lovers ... and weird things about mothers. The Observer, 12 July 2009. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  27. ^ Mesplé, Louis. «Open See»: le photographe et les migrants racontent l'histoire. Rue 89, 31 May 2009. Accessed 24 January 2010.
  28. ^ Addison Gallery of American Art. Collections. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  29. ^ Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Advanced search - art collection. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  30. ^ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Collections search results. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  31. ^ Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. MFAH photography collection. Alpha listing. Current as of August 4, 2004. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  32. ^ San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Artists by name: "G." Accessed 30 January 2010.
  33. ^ Smithsonian American Art Museum. Jim Goldberg. Accessed 30 January 2010.
  34. ^ Whitney Museum of American Art. Collection. All artists in the collection. Accessed 30 January 2010.

External links[edit]