The above image is iconic. Nan Goldin released this self portrait as part of her photo monograph, ‘The Ballad of Sexual Dependency‘ in 1986. Goldin’s work was one of self inquiry, groundbreaking in its visceral analysis of intimacy and relationships from her generation. It launched her career as an artist, it also, over time became the vehicle of escape from that relationship.
In contrast, there’s the work of photographer and activist Donna Ferrato, who’s 30 year career in documenting (and helping) battered women has culminated to a new project, ‘I Am Unbeatable’ to celebrate the women who escaped, forged new lives for themselves from their abusers. Ferrato’s work is unique, beyond straight on documentation: she ultimately became a vocal advocate in the fight for victims of domestic violence. Her book, ‘Living With The Pain’ went through 4 reprintings over the past 20 years, ‘the rarest of photographic projects: one that has significantly affected the problem it documents, helping to change laws and establish and finance domestic violence shelters throughout the country.’
More of her work can be seen here.