Laura Poitras on her Oscar-Nominated Doc All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

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By Curzon

Laura Poitras’ Venice Film Festival-winning documentary, which has just received an Academy Award nomination, is a collaboration with and about acclaimed photographer Nan Goldin. It balances a fascinating portrait of her life with her campaign to bring the Sackler family to account for their part in the opioid crisis. Here, Poitras talks about how she became involved and the challenge in bringing all these disparate elements of Goldin’s life together.

'I was first introduced to Nan’s work by a photographer friend while I was studying filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. She had Nan’s book [The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1986] and had seen her slideshow. I eventually saw the show in the 1990s, but it wasn’t live then – more in an institutional context than the interactive show you hear about in the film. These slideshows, even though comprised of stills, create a narrative that transforms them into moving images. I knew that Nan had personal relationships with all the people who feature in the images – she doesn’t just film people on the street. But that’s not something you necessarily need to know when you see them. You can just feel [that intimacy] in the work. This was influential to my understanding of the relationship between a photographer or filmmaker and their subjects: how you film them.'

Read the full article on the Curzon Journal here.