Delicatesse in photography
If you ask me to sum up in one word my feelings about Nathaniel Goldberg’s photography, the word “délicatesse” comes first. Subtle, radiant, peaceful: the images created by Goldberg through twenty-five years of a rich and productive career allow us to see a world where the attention to the beauty of the things goes with a sensitive respect for it. Nathaniel Goldberg is a man one could call a “great soul”. Logically, his work testifies of a true humanism, particularly rare and precious in an art world often marked by the egocentrism of many artists. Goldberg knows how to watch, and through his photographs we as a viewer, also learn how watch and indeed how to see – surely the highest achievements of the visual art. In those images, the photographer isn’t controlling his models but dialoguing with them; never he aims to directly capture a subject or a personality, but lightly approaches the spirit of the things his eye observes. Portrait, fashion, landscape, documentary: composed with images selected and edited by the photographer himself, this present book is definitely what we call an “artist book”. Displaying like waves of memories various themes and heterogeneous subjects, this panoramic summary of Goldberg’s photographic work looks in a sense like a self-portrait. In this portrait, model Stella Tennant appears perhaps as the heart of the photographer’s work. Aristocratic and punk, feminine and masculine, Stella embodies the delicate balance of the contraries the art of Goldberg is searching out. Both fascinating and disturbing, India is naturally a land of paradoxes Nathaniel Goldberg will explore: “One needs three lives to know India”, a proverb says. The photographer knows it, who has been discovering the magic subcontinent with the necessary humility, territory of opportunities and confusions. What else better than the daily life of Aghori Guru to depict the deep philosophy of an Indian vision of life?
As a true artist, Goldberg comes before and after other artists, engraving his work within his own history of photography and the visual arts. Looking at some images, a careful eye will think of some conscious or unconscious references Goldberg likes to quote in a corner of his photographs. Here Newton, glamorous lady lying erotically on her long armchair; here Hopper, in the space-time of a gas station lit in the night; here Cartier-Bresson, focusing on the matching of three pairs of legs under a coffee table; here Penn, composing a graphic geometric visual after
a fashion commission. This book, as the life of an artist has to be, is also a collection of exchanges with the masters of Goldberg. As brilliant with studio photography as in his documentary work, magazine commissions or personal explorations, Nathaniel Goldberg handles perfectly all the techniques and styles. Add to the most professional touch a rare delicate eye: there you find the artist in the photographer.
Photographed by Nathaniel Goldberg